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Criminal charges possible for woman who drove on State Capitol sidewalk and lawn

She was taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

The woman who drove an SUV on to the State Capitol sidewalk and lawns during a news conference for Rep. John Thompson could face criminal charges.

Supporters of Thompson were interrupted shortly after 11 a.m. Monday when the woman drove across the grounds, waving a large "Trump 2020" flag from the window. Much of the incident was captured on video, with activists who had gathered for the news conference criticizing responding law enforcement officers for allowing the woman to sit in her car for nearly an hour before being arrested.

The State Patrol, which is responsible for State Capitol security, provided more details about the situation Monday afternoon.

According to the agency, state troopers approached the woman — identified as a 52-year-old from St. Paul — while she was initially stopped on the grounds, and asked her to drive to the road so she could be cited. 

Related: Rep. John Thompson says he will not resign

She "instead drove on the lawn before driving to the street," the State Patrol said, with video showing her doing circles around a planted area before heading to the roadway.

Troopers stopped her on Martin Luther King Jr. and John Ireland boulevards, boxing her in with vehicles and taking her keys away. They "determined that the she may have been experiencing a mental health incident," so called in the St. Paul Police Department's mental health unit. 

"After ongoing conversation, [she] eventually exited the vehicle on her own, was taken into custody and transported to Regions Hospital in State Patrol squad," the State Patrol said.

The whole incident, according to video from the scene, took about 90 minutes. During most of it, the woman remained in the driver's seat, talking and yelling, smoking cigarettes and at one point talking on the phone as a first responder spoke with her.

The woman is undergoing an evaluation, the State Patrol said. The case is being forwarded to the St. Paul City Attorney for possible criminal charges, including reckless driving, the agency added.

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