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Bemidji police pursuit ends with car in river

A Thursday pursuit involving the Bemidji Police Department resulted in a vehicle going into the Mississippi River. A Bemidji Police Department vehicle stopped short of the river, just over the edge of a steep decline. The incident was north of Carr Lake, south of the city limits. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI—A pursuit of two people by the Bemidji Police Department ended with the suspect's car in the Mississippi River on Thursday afternoon.

According to a news release from the Bemidji Police Department, the high-speed chase began after officers received a report at about 1:03 p.m. of an assault happening inside a vehicle traveling north on Paul Bunyan Drive near the Mississippi River bridge.

An officer in the area tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver fled west on Fifth Street Northwest at about 95 mph.

Officers chased the suspect south on Jefferson Avenue and Carr Lake Road, reaching speeds greater than 100 mph. The pursuit continued onto Monroe Avenue, where the driver crossed a yard and went into the Mississippi River.

The vehicle could be seen almost completely submerged in the river following the crash. A Bemidji Police Department squad car could also be seen lodged in the bank.

Both suspects escaped the vehicle and swam to the opposite riverbank, where they were taken into custody. One suspect was identified as a 22-year-old female from Minneapolis. No charges have been filed as of Thursday afternoon. The other suspect, a juvenile, was taken to Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, for minor injuries.

A police officer also was hurt during the pursuit and was treated for minor injuries, the release said.

The Bemidji Police Department was assisted by the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Bemidji Ambulance Service, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Bemidji FIre Department and the Beltrami County Communications Center.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796