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Published September 03, 2011, 07:25 PM

Police: Man Steals Crookston Squad Car, Crashes Into Pickup, Killing Driver

A man who got into a fight with police in Crookston allegedly stole a squad car then crashed into a pickup truck — killing the truck's driver.

A man who got into a fight with police in Crookston allegedly stole a squad car then crashed into a pickup truck — killing the truck's driver.

Crookston police responded to a property damage call shortly before 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Callers were outside the VFW, saying men were pounding on their car, threatening them.

"When officers attempted to speak with one of the suspects he ignored them and walked into Crooks Club," Crookston Police Chief Tim Motherway said in a written release.

The two officers followed him into the bar where a fight started between an officer and the suspect, Ricardo Mello, 23, of Crookston.

"The officer tased the suspect multiple times with little to no affect. The suspect was maced and had little to no affect on him. He was able to struggle and get away from the officers, and exited the bar and jumped into a Crookston police car," Chief Motherway said.

Mello left Crooks Club in the stolen car, driving on Main Street. Officers then radioed that he had gotten away in the squad car.

"The suspect was traveling on South Main Street and turning onto Old Highway 75 south by the Crookston Fire Department and went over the center line and struck another vehicle that was traveling eastbound coming on Old Highway 75," Chief Motherway said.

There was no pursuit from officers at the time of the crash.

The pickup driver, 78-year-old Eddie Briggs from Thief River Falls, Minn. was killed. The pickup's passenger, 57-year-old Patricia Briggs also from Thief River Falls, remains at Riverview Hospital in fair condition.

Mello is at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks in stable condition.

Another person was arrested in the original incident at the VFW.

Crookston Police also responded to an altercation with Mello at the Riverview emergency room.

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