Man who died after pursuit on I-35 in Pine County identified

The man who died following an encounter with law enforcement on Interstate 35 in Pine County last week has been identified.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) says 34-year-old Kyle Bazant, from Bayfield, Wis., was the man who apparently led a trooper on a pursuit and was then found dead in his vehicle.

While the incident remains under investigation, the BCA says preliminary information shows that a state trooper saw a vehicle speeding while headed north on I-35 just after 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 21. The trooper tried to stop the vehicle, including through the use of stop sticks and a pit maneuver, but the vehicle continued until it ended up in a ditch around 20 minutes into the pursuit.

After the vehicle stopped in the ditch, a Pine County deputy, identified as 11-year veteran Carl Hawkinson, fired a less-lethal beanbag round through the back and passenger windows of the vehicle.

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When authorities continued to get no response from the person inside the vehicle, they approached it and saw Bazant dead. A medical examiner determined the gunshot wound that killed him was self-inflicted. A gun was found inside the car.

The BCA says body cameras from the troopers and deputies were on, and agents are reviewing the footage they captured. After the BCA finishes its investigation, the findings will be sent to the Pine County Attorney’s Office for review.