A 15-year-old boy fleeing police in a stolen sedan slammed into a car Sunday morning at a Minneapolis intersection, killing a woman and injuring two children she was driving to Sunday school, authorities said.
Minneapolis police, who had tried to pull the boy over, said they had called off the chase about a half-mile before the crash at Lake Street and Stevens Avenue S. because of the risk to the public. The boy, who one witness estimated was going 60 miles per hour, was arrested after running from the debris-strewn crash scene.
Hanna Abukar, 26, of Minneapolis died at the scene, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner's office. She was driving her son and a neighbor boy to Sunday school at a mosque, said Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center. Abukar's son was in critical condition and the other boy was in stable condition, Jamal said.
He said family members were too grief-stricken Sunday night to comment.
"The [Somali] community and the family are unhappy because the chase occurred and probably will try to figure out the facts later," he said. "We'll focus first on the funeral tomorrow."
About 8 a.m., officers had tried to stop the boy because of a traffic violation near 31st Street and Longfellow Avenue S. The suspect refused to stop and sped off, police said.
Officers chased him onto Lake Street and learned from their dispatcher that the sedan had been reported stolen. The boy hit the gas hard and zoomed west on Lake, said police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer. Officers following him notified a supervisor about the chase.
At one point three squad cars were involved, Palmer said. He said he didn't know how fast they were going.
After about a dozen blocks, the supervisor called off the pursuit at the Lake and Chicago Avenue S. intersection because of safety concerns.
The officers watched the suspect speed west on Lake, Palmer said, then saw a cloud of debris rise about one-half mile ahead of them at the intersection with Stevens Avenue.
There, officers found that the stolen car had crashed into the car driven by the woman. The suspect was gone.
He ran from the scene, police said, but was arrested soon after at a nearby Kmart.
The boy, treated for minor injuries at Hennepin County Medical Center, is in police custody, Palmer said. It wasn't known why the boy was in the stolen car or whether he has a prior record, Palmer said.
Todd Ellenson, 29, of Minneapolis was sitting at a red light at Lake and Elliot Avenue S. when he heard an engine rev and saw a sedan swerve around him into the eastbound lane and then back into the westbound. Police, going slower than the boy, passed by and turned off their lights and sirens a block or two up, Ellenson said.
"There wasn't that much traffic, but enough for there to be hazards," Ellenson said. He guessed the boy was going about 60 miles per hour.
The five officers involved in the chase were put on standard administrative leave.
While police pursuits are fairly common, Palmer said, "it's very rare chases result in accident or death."
Whether the boy realized police laid off was unknown, but police are supposed to make it clear when they give up in the hope that fleeing drivers will slow down. Officers are supposed to shut off sirens and lights and either pull over or off the chase route when they're called off.
Videos of every pursuit are reviewed for violations, Palmer said. He had not seen the video from Sunday's incident.
Chris Havens • 651-298-1542