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Driver arrested after crashing into bar had prior DWI convictions


At least six people, including the driver, were hurt early Friday morning after a vehicle crashed into The Bulldog, a popular restaurant and bar in St. Paul's Lowertown.

WCCO reports the Minnesota State Patrol responded to the crash shortly after midnight. Authorities said five people who were seated inside the bar and the driver of the van were transported to Regions Hospital.

The Star Tribune reports that all of them have now been released and the driver has been jailed in Ramsey County.

The newspaper said court records show the 31-year-old driver from Shoreview has committed at least 10 traffic violations in Minnesota since 2001, with two drunken-driving convictions among them.

And three years ago, he was a passenger in a vehicle that ran over a group of University of Minnesota students in Dinkytown, killing one person and injuring two others, the Star Tribune reports.

KSTP reports the vehicle was being pursued by the state patrol when the driver lost control and crashed into the restaurant.

The chase began when police got a 911 call about a gold minivan that was driving erratically on Highway 61 near Interstate 494 in Newport. The caller said the vehicle was weaving in and out of traffic. Authorities followed the vehicle to Interstate 94 and officers attempted to pull the van over near the 6th Street exit. The driver did not stop, took the ramp and drove another block before crashing into the restaurant. The impact of the crash was strong enough to deploy the airbags in the suspect's vehicle.

The squad car did not make contact with the van and was still a distance behind it when the van crashed into the building, Lt. Chris Erickson of the State Patrol told the Pioneer Press.

The crash is still under investigation, and the driver will be tested to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

The manager of The Bulldog tells KSTP that the Lowertown restaurant was to be back open on Friday.

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