Car chase crosses 3 counties, injures 2; Area couple hurt when stolen Impala crashes into their vehicle

Published 8:11 am Wednesday, August 16, 2017

An at-times high-speed chase that started in Rochester and ended in Dodge County resulted in one arrest.

Scott Michael Skjeveland, 48

Scott Michael Skjeveland, 48, of Rochester was arrested at 12:49 a.m. on Tuesday for allegedly fleeing police in a motor vehicle and is in Mower County Jail awaiting charges.

According to Chief Deputy Mark May, Skjeveland was at a group home in Rochester when he got angry and assaulted a staff member. He took the staff member’s keys and stole a state vehicle, a blue Chevy Impala. He then fled the facility.

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A Mower County deputy heard over the radio that troopers of the Minnesota State Patrol were in pursuit of Skjeveland southbound on Highway 63. The deputy told dispatch he would head to Highway 63 should the chase enter Mower County. While en route, the State Patrol discontinued pursuit.

The deputy learned the description of the vehicle. He observed the vehicle going westbound on Highway 16. The vehicle then veered into the eastbound lane, forcing the deputy to hit the brakes and drive onto the shoulder to avoid getting hit.

The deputy turned and tried to initiate a traffic stop just west of Pine Lawn Park by Grand Meadow, but Skjeveland refused to stop.

During the pursuit, dispatch advised the deputy the vehicle was stolen out of Olmsted County.

Skjeveland kept going westbound on Highway 16 at 60 miles per hour, slowing to 45 miles per hour as he approached Interstate 90. He got onto Interstate 90 West and stayed in the slow lane, driving about 55 miles per hour. State Patrol troopers set up stop sticks near County Road 20, but Skjeveland took the County Road 20 exit.

He then drove southbound on County Road 20 at speeds ranging from 30 mph to 65 mph before turning west onto County Road 3, north on County Road 19, then west on County Road 46.

A State Patrol trooper attempted to stop him with stop sticks near Highway 56, but Skjeveland slowed enough to drive around them and turned north on Highway 56, increasing his speed to 70 miles per hour.

A Blooming Prairie officer advised that he would be crossing County Line 1 to Highway 56 in the event Skjeveland continued north. Skjeveland passed through Brownsdale and Dodge County officers advised they were setting up on Highway 56 at the county line.

The Blooming Prairie officer deployed a spike strip as Skjeveland approached County Line 1, causing the Mower County deputy to pull back. The strip successfully blew out his rear right tire, but Skjeveland increased his speed to more than 80 miles per hour.

When Skjeveland approached the Dodge County line on Highway 56, he swerved to avoid spike strips deployed by Dodge County deputies and drove the vehicle into a field. He made his way back to Highway 56 and accelerated up to 100 miles per hour.

The Mower County deputy then terminated the pursuit, but noticed a plume of smoke above the road about 1.5 miles ahead of him. A dispatcher advised that Skjeveland had hit another vehicle on Highway 56 near Dodge County Road 6.

When the deputy arrived at the scene, Dodge County deputies had Skjeveland at gunpoint. He also saw a white vehicle with front-end damage.

According to the Post-Bulletin, the driver of the white vehicle, Larry Knutson, 70, and a passenger, Linda Knutson, 68, both of Blooming Prairie had non-life threatening injuries and were treated at Mayo Clinic, Saint Marys campus in Rochester.

Skjeveland was arrested by the Mower County deputy and was cleared by Hayfield emergency medical responders before being transported to Mower County Jail.

When asked why he would not pull over, Skjeveland told police he “just did not want to stop.”

Skjeveland could be facing charges in Olmsted County as well as Mower County.