The Duluth Police Union says it is fortunate that one of its officers "wasn't severely injured or killed" in a wild incident that happened in late April.
According to a criminal complaint, office Kaine Kaase responded to a report of people attempting to break into vehicles during the overnight hours of April 23. Kaase was able to identify two suspects who matched descriptions reported to authorities, and as he approached a male suspect, identified as 30-year-old Don Lee Hoven, of Duluth, Hoven took off running behind a garage on the 600 block of Atlantic Ave.
A female suspect didn't flee, and as Kaase was speaking to her he saw Hoven run towards his squad car, which was locked. But as the officer gave chase the key fob in his pocket automatically unlocked the door as he neared the cruiser. Hoven got into the driver's seat, with Kaase diving into the car trying to stop him.
Hoven then accelerated at a high rate of speed down an alley, with the officer's legs still dangling outside the speeding vehicle. Kaase, fearing for his life, reported that Hoven erratically sped the vehicle down the alley while intentionally trying to crash his legs into objects.
Eventually, after crossing Pacific Ave., Hoven crashed into a garage, causing the airbags to deploy, and then crashed into what Kaase believed to be another vehicle before coming to a complete stop.
They then physically struggled for control of the cruiser before Hoven finally surrendered when Kaase was able to draw his gun and order him out of the car.
Hoven was in possession of .357-caliber bullet, which was illegal because of a prior conviction for aggravated robbery. Hoven has been charged with second- and third-degree counts of assault, a felon in possession of a firearm and use of deadly force against a peace officer.
Officer Kaase sustained an injury to his hand that required stitches.
"These types of situations and calls illustrates some of the possible dangers our officers are routinely exposed to, even if it seems to just be a common, “routine” call," the police union said. "We are extremely thankful that Officer Kaase has recovered and we are honored to have him as a member of our Police Union.