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Subject used frozen lake to evade police

A suspected car thief is on thin ice with area law enforcement after he led police officers from three different departments on a chase that ended on the frozen surface of Rice Lake in Brainerd.

Just after 6 p.m.

Monday, Brainerd Police officers were advised from the Crosby Police Department that a black Ford Explorer had been reported stolen from in front of the Subway restaurant in Crosby.

Crosby Police gave a description of the male seen taking the vehicle and reported the vehicle was believed to be traveling west on Highway 210 toward Brainerd.

Brainerd Police officers spotted the vehicle westbound on Highway 210 near Pine Shores Road.

Brainerd Police reported when officers made an attempt to catch up to the vehicle, the driver made an abrupt turn off the highway onto 13th Avenue NE.

Officers matched the vehicle’s license plate number with the stolen vehicle report and activated emergency lights. The vehicle did not stop, but increased speed and proceeded toward the Rice Lake access at Lum Park.

The vehicle fled pursuing officers by driving onto the lake.

Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston said officers followed the vehicle onto the lake, but stopped when they realized the driver of the stolen vehicle was continuing across the frozen surface.

“We generally don’t like them to drive on the ice unless it’s a life or death situation,” McQuiston said.

Other responding officers were advised of the vehicle’s direction of travel and quickly located the vehicle unoccupied on Rice Lake near Lakeview Lane.

Shortly after the vehicle was recovered, officers located the suspect near H Street and Mill Avenue in northeast Brainerd. The suspect was identified as a 19-year-old Motley man.

The suspect was transported to the Crow Wing County Jail where he is awaiting charges. The incident is under review by the Crow Wing County attorney’s office for charges of motor vehicle theft, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and driving after revocation.

Assisting in this incident were the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department, Baxter Police Department and the Crosby Police Department. Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Brainerd Police Department at 829-2805.

SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at or 855-5879.