The Washington County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday night arrested the 32-year-old man who eluded police Dec. 3 in Oak Park Heights after allegedly shoplifting from Walmart and stealing a vehicle that had a 68-year-old blind woman in the passenger seat.
Deputies arrested Derek Michael Vance, of Inver Grove Heights, following a short pursuit that started in Mahtomedi and ended in the Fleet Farm parking lot in Oakdale, Washington County Sheriff’s Office Commander Brian Mueller said.
After the deputy initiated the traffic stop, Vance fled the scene in a stolen vehicle before crashing into a power pole near the dead end on Oakdale Drive, Mueller said. Vance then fled on foot, but was arrested in the Fleet Farm parking lot.
Three sheriff’s deputies were transported to Lakeview Hospital to be evaluated due to exposure to electricity while they processed the crash scene, Mueller said. The officers were released from the hospital and are doing well, he said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is forwarding charges of felony fleeing in a motor vehicle, property damage, receiving stolen property and driving after revocation to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review. He will also be charged for felony probation violation as the result of a Minnesota Department of Corrections warrant.
Oak Park Heights Police Chief Brian DeRosier said detectives are working to complete police reports from the Dec. 3 incident for charges of fleeing police in a motor vehicle and shoplifting.
The Dec. 3 incident began at Walmart. As an Oak Park Heights Officer was attempting to take Vance into custody, a struggle ensued and he fled on foot and jumped into another customers vehicle that had been left in the parking lot running, DeRosier told Stillwater Current on Thursday. At the time, a 68-year old blind woman was a passenger in the vehicle.
“The suspect fled the scene and crashed the vehicle into a pond located in a city park,” DeRosier said. He then fled the park on foot.
A police search was conducted using K9 and helicopter units, DeRosier said. The man ultimately was let into a residence about 3/4 mile from the incident and allowed to use a phone. He called for a ride and left the area.
“The Sheriff’s Office assisted Oak Park Heights police on Wednesday night, so we’re happy this individual is off the street and in custody at this time,” Mueller said.
No one was injured in the Dec. 3 incident in Oak Park Heights.
The case remains an active investigation.
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