INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. — A woman is safe tonight after a harrowing incident in far northwestern Minnesota where she was kidnapped and taken on a high-speed chase with law enforcement.
International Falls Police responded to reports of a kidnapping just after 5 p.m. Tuesday on the 1400 block of Highway 11-71. Witnesses say a woman was forced into a white van and taken by a man with whom she had a prior relationship.
An alert went out to law enforcement agencies across the region, and a search for the suspect vehicle began.
Around 8:30 p.m. a St. Louis County deputy spotted the van heading south on Highway 53 near Kabetogema Lake, and began a pursuit that reached speeds of 80 miles per hour. Deputies say the suspect waved a gun out the window of the vehicle as he drove.
Stop sticks were eventually deployed, damaging the van's wheels, but the suspect kept driving until he reached the parking lot of a motel in the city of Orr. Pursuing officers used several vehicle and were able to stop the van.
The victim at that time was able to run from the vehicle, fleeing into a nearby wooded area where she was located by law enforcement and taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out.
Officers on the scene heard a single gunshot from inside the van, and observed the suspect wounded with what appeared to be a gunshot to the head. They immediately began lifesaving measures, and he was flown to a hospital in Duluth with what are being called life-threatening injuries.
A handgun was later found in the suspect's vehicle.