MINNETONKA, Minn. – A lieutenant with the Minnesota State Patrol admonished drivers in a pack of speeding exotic sports cars who found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
“Last thing I need is for you guys to hit a motorcycle or somebody at 110 miles an hour,” Lt. Paul Stricker told one of the drivers. “Somebody's going to die, unfortunately.”
The audio and video of Stricker and the drivers was released by the Minnetonka City Attorney’s office, nearly two years after the highly publicized incident on a busy Twin Cities freeway.
Stricker’s squad car video shows him pursuing the exotic cars for miles, after first spotting the vehicles driving westbound on Interstate 394. Among the vehicles was a Ferrari, a Dodge Viper, and two Lamborghinis.
“The one vehicle that the trooper did get a reading on, was 110 miles per hour,” said Rolf Sponheim, Minnetonka’s city attorney.
Sponheim said he released the video after the case was closed, with the deadline passed for appeals.
Stricker pulled some of the drivers over along Highway 12. Others were detained at a gas station in Maple Plain by a West Hennepin officer.
Stricker estimated two dozen cars were initially in the pack.
Seven drivers eventually pleaded guilty, accepting fines and community service. Charges against five other drivers were dismissed.
“Some charges were dismissed because we concluded we couldn’t prove who was driving the vehicle,” Sponheim said. The prosecutor said other charges were dismissed after an unfavorable ruling at a preliminary hearing, “on issues such as whether or not there was a basis to stop the car.”
In the video, Stricker is heard asking one of the drivers why he thought he was flagged down.
“For speeding?” the driver answers.
Stricker replies, “A bunch of beautiful cars going that fast out here. It’s like the Cannonball Run all over again.”
Stricker sends the drivers on their way with citations, a compliment, and some advice. “You guys got beautiful cars, enjoy 'em. But just run 'em in the right spot. There's tracks around, I know you can run 'em.”
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, speeding contributes to 21 percent of the state's fatal crashes.
“It can be tempting to speed if you’re running late, if you’re on the open road or you simply like the thrill of pushing down on that accelerator,” said Colonel Matt Langer, chief of the State Patrol. “The scary part is that any of those reasons can end your life or the lives of others on the road. Speed contributes to an average of 81 deaths each year in Minnesota. The State Patrol’s top priority is keeping people safe on Minnesota roads. Please help us out and reduce your chance of a crash by obeying the speed limit.”