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Driver arrested in Ramsey County, sent back to jail for 35th time

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The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office says the 31-year-old suspect led police on a chase just a few hours after being released from jail on other charges.

ST PAUL, Minn. — A 31-year-old suspect is back in jail — for the 35th time — after leading law enforcement on a wrong-way chase in the East Metro on Tuesday morning, according to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect has not been formally charged yet, which is why KARE 11 has not named him. A Ramsey County Attorney’s Office spokesperson said charges are expected at some point Thursday.

Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin said his agency and Maplewood Police received several calls on Tuesday morning about an erratic driver in the Highway 61 corridor, whom they determined to be a suspect in a stolen red Chevy. Just before 8 a.m., traffic cameras showed the suspect speeding through intersections and driving the wrong way down busy Highway 61, leading to several near-misses with other drivers. 

“And that truck was pulling a dump trailer, driving extremely dangerously,” Martin said. “It was kind of looping around in certain areas, so officers were able to anticipate where it was going.”

After using two rounds of “stop sticks” to deflate the driver’s tires, police say the suspect left his car on County Road D in Vadnais Heights and tried to hide in nearby garages. Eventually, he was arrested and taken to the Ramsey County Jail. 

Less than two hours before leading law enforcement on the wrong-way chase, court records show that the suspect had posted $5,000 worth of bond on DWI, drug, and stolen property charges. This suspect has a lengthy criminal history dating back at least a decade, including misdemeanor and felony drug charges. 

“This is a suspect who had already been in our jail 34 times and had just been released earlier in the day. Now he’s on his 35th time,” Martin said. “I think that says something about our criminal justice system.”

Joe Tamburino, a legal analyst and Minneapolis criminal defense attorney, reviewed the suspect’s criminal history and noticed a pattern of “very low bails.”

“His bails have been very low — something like $2,000, $1,000, or he’s simply being released,” Tamburino said. “When you keep getting these repeat offenders, unfortunately at some point they’re going to hurt other individuals. Things could happen like this. When you see someone who is in and out of jail a dozen times within a year, you really need to concentrate on this person.”

The issue of bail has been on the agenda at the Minnesota State Capitol this session. On the Republican side, some lawmakers have argued for a stronger bail system to keep repeat offenders in jail, including stronger tracking and oversight of offenders posting bail. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, some members of the DFL have explored more limits on the bail system, aligning with national progressives who argue that bail keeps low-income offenders in jail much longer than needed. For example, one such proposal this session by DFL Rep. Cedrick Frazier would restrict the use of bail in some misdemeanors. 

A spokesperson for the House DFL said that bail reform did not make it into the final public safety bill, which the chamber passed Wednesday. However, the bill does include a mechanism to study jails and the bail system.

Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin takes a different view.

“When we have repeat offenders like this that put the public in danger,” Martin said, “we have to hold them accountable.”

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Dog attack leaves 7-year-old with visual injuries

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A dog attack has left a 7-year-old girl with scrapes on her legs and back and cuts on her lips.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — A 7-year-old who was hurt in a dog attack Tuesday is still processing what happened.

“I was just walking and then it pushed me and started attacking me,” said Yamah Yekeku.

She went to drop off a package at her neighbor’s home. Then the dog ran toward her.

“It’s is third time chasing somebody,” Yekeku said.

Her mother Mary Innis pointed out the scrapes on her legs and back, and the little cuts on her lips.

The dog who attacked her is a part of 13-year-old Yazmina Warsame’s family.

“She was really sweet, she was very playful,” she said.

Warsame said her dog’s name was Diamond, a 1-year-old Pitbull.

“Diamond didn’t mean to hurt nobody, she just wanted to play and they killed her for it,” she said.

Brooklyn Park Police and shot killed the dog because they said it went after another child.

“The animal actually ran into a playground area, a park area in an apartment complex and there were two young children that were in the park. The dog took off after one of the children and was trying to bite that child,” said Brooklyn Park Police Precinct Inspector and Public Information Officer Elliot Faust.

Faust said a cadet lifted the child up to his shoulder to protect him.

“The dog was jumping up actively trying to bite the child and that’s when one of our officers shot him,” Faust said.

He said the 7-year-old was treated for her injuries at the scene. Innis said she took her daughter to the doctor’s office on Wednesday to get a rabies shot as a precaution.

Tuesday’s incident was the second dog attack to happen within Brooklyn Park. A 3-year-old was attacked by two Pitbulls, last Friday. Faust said the child’s injuries were extensive, and he’s still recovering in the hospital. He said that attack was the worst dog attack he has ever seen.

“These are not common, they don’t happen frequently, so it is kind of strange that we’re talking about two in one week,” Faust said.

Faust want community members to be more aware of their surroundings and to understand their dog. He said they’ve had more dangerous dog designations so far this year than all of last year.

“As a dog owner it is your responsibility to take control of the animal,” Faust said. One mistake that happens can have tragic consequences.”

Warsame said her dog was just hyper. Diamond also had long nails, Warsame said they were planning to cut.

She’s heartbroken her dog is gone and doesn’t understand why police had to kill her. She wants people to know her dog wasn’t mean.

“People take advantage of the way a big dog looks, they don’t know her personality, so people might have called her mean and I don’t people to think Diamond is mean, and I feel like it’s important to share. She wasn’t a mean dog, she was never a mean dog,” Warsame said.



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MN church group stranded for days in New Orleans

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The group was originally supposed to be home this past Saturday.

MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities church group is on its way home tonight, after spending the last few days stranded in New Orleans.

“We are really sick of the airport,” Leisha Tays, supervising the trip, said in a FaceTime call from the airport.

That trip, to the Evangelical Lutherans in America Youth Gathering, was supposed to end this past Saturday.

“Every once in awhile, it would just get bumped back farther and farther and farther,” she said.

That group from Our Saviours’ Lutheran Church in East Bethel consists of 14, mostly made up of kids. Tays says it’s been a challenge to figure out their next steps with a group so big.

“It is frustrating, but I also know it’s nothing I can control,” Tays said. “That’s what I keep telling my kids that I’m here with, is that you can only control yourself.”

“Doing our best, what else do you do, right?” she added.

To keep themselves busy, they’ve spent time exploring New Orleans, a vacation that they were initially alright with extending. They quickly realized there were challenges that came with that, including working through Delta’s vouchers, which covered not nearly enough for a group their size.

“We have been given three $12 meal vouchers per person, which doesn’t really cover much,” Tays said. “Especially in four days.”

They made it through thanks to donations from their church members back home, donating to keep the crew fed.

“A lot of details, and everything went great until it didn’t,” Lisa Rykken Kastler, Director of Congregational Ministries for the church, said.

“There wasn’t even an ask, the situation was such that, ok, you’re gonna need money,” Rykken Kastler added.

At the time of this article’s writing, Tays tells KARE11 that they’re finally taxiing, ready to take off and come home – a vacation they can’t wait to end.

“We’re just exhausted, you know?” she said. “There’s the emotional and the physical exhaustion that’s going on, and we’re ready.”



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Met Council asks cities to sign-off on Blue Line Extension plans

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The Met Council is asking several cities to sign off on the preliminary design for the Blue Light Extension.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — The communities along the proposed METRO Blue Line Extension are getting a chance to review and discuss the proposed plans with the public. 

The METRO Blue Line Extension is anticipated to be 13.4 miles between Target Field and Brooklyn Park, and would also run through Crystal and Robbinsdale. The Met Council hopes to start service in 2030, and estimate total ridership would be nearly 30,000 daily trips. 

Now, community leaders will be asked to consent to major project elements like where stations are located and where tracks will go. According to the Met Council, many project details haven’t been determined and the plans leave a lot of room for future design choices.

“This process gives people an opportunity to participate in the line through their elected officials,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle in a press release. “This is a big investment that will serve our region for the next 100 years.”

Each of the municipalities will hold a public meeting and then vote before October 10, the Met Council said. 

“No matter how well we design a project, we need each city to let us know how it will fit into their neighborhoods and serve their communities,” said Zelle. “We’ve held weekly meetings for the past four years to ensure our designs are on the mark. But it’s up to each city council to approve preliminary design plans or recommend changes.”

The proposed plans can be viewed by clicking here.



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