Police: Fleeing vehicle crashes into ravine off dismantled footbridge, sparks grass fire

A St. Peter man is facing charges in connection with a police pursuit that ended with a vehicle crashing into a ravine off a walking trail and starting a fire.

The pursuit started around 11 p.m. when Mankato Public Safety officers attempted to stop a vehicle on North 2nd St, near the intersection with Adams St.

The driver allegedly fled, leading police on a four-mile pursuit on Mankato’s north end, weaving through Lafayette St,  N Riverfront Dr, and other roads.

Mankato Public Safety Associate Director Dan Schisel says the chase reached maximum speeds of 70 to 80 miles per hour.  It ended when the suspect drove onto the Sakatah Trail off northbound Lime Valley Rd.  The trail is under construction and a bridge dismantled.

Schisel said the fleeing vehicle went off the bridge, which is on a walking trail, and crashed into the ravine, sparking a grass fire that required firefighting efforts.

The driver fled on foot for about 100  yards, said Schisel, but was taken into custody without incident.  Police have identified the driver as Curtis John Rathai, 52, of St. Peter.

Rathai was transported to a hospital, then booked in the Blue Earth County Jail.  He faces potential charges of fleeing police in a motor vehicle.

Schisel said Rathai will likely face additional charges pending an ongoing investigation.  Part of the investigation will focus on Rathai’s use of the vehicle, said Schisel.



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