June 14, 2018 09:04 AM
A driver with a revoked license who led officers on a chase in Minneapolis and subsequently struck two children on a playground at Bohanon Park has been charged.
According to a criminal complaint, 27-year-old Kabaar Wahleen Asim Ross Powell, Jr., has been charged with two felony-level counts of fleeing an officer and causing great and substantial bodily harm, two gross misdemeanor-level counts of criminal vehicular operation, and one gross misdemeanor-level count of possessing a pistol without a permit.
The criminal complaint details the following:
Minnesota State Patrol officers were on a routine patrol at roughly 9:30 a.m. near the intersection of Interstate 94 and 46th Avenue in Minneapolis when they observed a vehicle traveling faster than the 60 mph speed limit. Officers learned Powell was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. They determined Powell was driving without wearing his seatbelt and had had his license revoked.
Authorities also learned Powell had been driving the same vehicle involved in a pursuit with state patrol three days earlier.
Emergency lights were activated but Powell sped up and a pursuit began, which reached speeds above 80 mph, according to the complaint. Officers reported Powell ran "at least 22 stop signs during the pursuit."
Powell reportedly turned near the 5000 block of Dupont Avenue in Minneapolis and turned into Bohanon Park, driving on the grass near Jenny Lind Elementary School.
According to the complaint, it was at this point that Powell struck a 2-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, "running completely over (the boy) and partially over (the girl.)" Those victims were identified as 2-year-old Kayden Jay Peltier and 4-year-old Lillianna Lee Peltier.
Then, Powell struck a piece of playground equipment, according to the complaint. He got out of the vehicle and began fleeing the scene but was quickly apprehended.
A search of Powell's vehicle revealed a 9mm handgun that had a magazine with ammunition inserted and an extra magazine with ammunition attached to the holster. Authorities learned Powell does not have a license to carry a handgun. Troopers also found drug paraphernalia.
According to the complaint, Kayden suffered a Grade 4 spleen injury, meaning a severe laceration to the organ, calling for his spleen to be removed. Kayden also suffered a pelvic fracture, a cervical spine fracture and intracranial bleeding. He requires continued care, according to the complaint.
Lillianna suffered a hematoma on her forehead as well as abrasions on her head, chest, hip and left elbow. She also had bleeding between the brain and tissue covering the brain, according to the complaint.
Additionally, two state troopers suffered minor head injuries during the incident. They were examined and released from the hospital, according to the complaint.
Powell is in custody and is expected to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
As he announced the charges against Powell, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman also raised questions about the State Patrol's pursuit.
"If a policy really permits that kind of chase, I think it ought to be reviewed," Freeman said during a press conference Wednesday. " I would rather see someone get away many times than cause this kind of injury."
A spokesperson with the Minnesota State Patrol declined to comment, saying in an email response that "the pursuit and whether policy was followed is part of an active investigation."
The state agency's policy on pursuits states that troopers should discontinue when a "clear and unreasonable danger" is present to the trooper, the suspect or others.
The guidelines also explain that troopers should "give strong and continuing consideration to discontinuing a pursuit," when the offense is a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony and the suspect can be identified later on.
No portion of the six-page policy specifically mentions what to do in high-speed pursuits in neighborhoods or through residential streets.
Former law enforcement training instructor David P. Schultz said the chase should have stopped well before Powell got to the park.
"You can't let these pursuits continue on and on and on, especially through residential areas," Schultz said. "My theory is get it over with, and get it over with now."
Updated: June 14, 2018 09:04 AM
Created: June 13, 2018 11:59 AM
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