WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 05, 2010, 08:00 AM

Police chase ends in crash that kills 3 in Minn.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A woman and her two sons were killed early Sunday when a stolen vehicle being chased by a state trooper crashed into their car in north Minneapolis, the Minnesota State Patrol said.

They were identified as Amanda Jean Thomas, 29, of Fridley, her 12-year-old son, Andre, and her 3-month-old son Akeron. The woman and the 12-year-old died at the scene, while the infant died a short time later.

"This is a horrible situation and a horrible tragedy," State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said.

The chase started around 12:45 a.m. Sunday when a trooper tried to pull over a 29-year-old Edina man who was driving erratically on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis in a vehicle that had been reported stolen, Roeske said.

The pursuit lasted just over a minute and covered about a mile, he said. The stolen vehicle got off the freeway at Dowling Avenue, ran a red light at Second Street North and West Broadway Avenue and broadsided the vehicle carrying the woman and children, pushing it into a third vehicle.

The trooper was about three blocks behind the suspect, stopping for lights and going slowly through intersections, when the crash happened, Roeske said.

The trooper's name was not immediately released.

"It's incredibly difficult for a state trooper to come across a scene like this, especially one involving children," Roeske said.

The suspect tried to flee on foot but was caught about 10 minutes later after a search that included a police dog, Roeske said. He suffered minor injuries and was taken to the Hennepin County Jail, where he was being held on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation, fleeing a police officer and receiving stolen property.

State Patrol Lt. Garrett Schloesser said the vehicle that the suspect had been driving was reported stolen in Minneapolis a few days earlier. The investigation was continuing.