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Update: Police arrest dad accused of crashing car, leaving hurt kids behind

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Police have arrested a father they say crashed his car into a road repair hole in St. Paul early Tuesday morning, then fled the scene leaving his injured children behind, reports say.

Police got a tip that led to the arrest of 45-year-old Earl Lionell Ward Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the Pioneer Press reports. Police say he left his two sleeping children – ages 8 and 14 – in his vehicle after crashing into a hole at the intersection of Hazel Street and Mechanic Avenue at around 3:30 a.m.

The children were thrown from the back seat to the front after the impact of the crash, KARE 11 reports. Family told the Pioneer Press that both children had to have surgery – 14-year-old Amarya West broke her neck and may never walk again, while Almond West, 8, broke his femur and severed an artery in his leg.

"I do think that it's a sense of desperation, that he cared about himself and not about the children in the car and that's what I think is very unique about this," Sgt. Paul Paulos said Tuesday, according to KARE 11.

Police say there was a warrant out for his arrest for a different case. The news station says Ward has an extensive criminal history, including being convicted of assault, dealing narcotics, criminal sexual conduct, domestic threats and terroristic threats, among others.

Police say the mother of the children is cooperating in the case, but wouldn't comment on her relationship with Ward. The Pioneer Press says the children's mother was in the minivan before Tuesday's crash, but got out before Ward drove off and crashed just around the corner.

Ward has been accused of assaulting the mother, the newspaper says.

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