Suspect hides in Richfield attic after fleeing police in SUV

A chase ended in Richfield on Monday when a police dog subdued a suspect who hid under a layer of insulation in a Richfield attic.

Robbinsdale resident Kevin Earl Westergaard, 22, sought refuge in the attic of an acquaintance’s house after the vehicle he was driving collided with a tree a few houses down from his hiding place on the 6800 block of 14th Avenue, ejecting a female passenger. He was charged with fleeing police, criminal vehicle operation, and for driving with a revoked license.

The passenger was conscious, tried standing up and was able to speak to officers, according to Vic Poyer, Bloomington Police public information officer.

The pursuit began on the 900 block of 78th Street about an hour prior, just before 4 p.m., when a police officer attempted to pull the 1996 Chevy Tahoe over for traveling 52 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone, Poyer said.

“The vehicle got to a light at 11th avenue and at that point it accelerated and went in between a semi trailer truck and south bound traffic,” he said.

The Tahoe then headed west on 78th Avenue, cutting through a gas station parking lot before heading north on Portland Avenue. “The driver did some loops” near 70th Street and Oakland Avenue in Richfield, then went east, Poyer said. The chase ended near 69th Street and 14th Avenue when the vehicle crashed into a tree, according to police.

The 19-year-old passenger told authorities she was ejected from the vehicle. She sustained injuries, although the extent of which was unclear to Poyer. “I don’t know if they are charging her,” he said.

Westergaard’s foot tracks led police to a home a few houses down from the crash site, where police believed the suspect was hiding under insulation in the attic. The home’s occupants, who knew the suspect, attempted to coax him out before police sent the K-9 to apprehend the man, said Poyer, estimating the suspect hid in the attic for a half-hour to an hour.

The chase “didn’t appear to be real high speeds,” said Poyer, adding that police reports say nothing regarding Westergaard’s motivation for fleeing. It did not appear that alcohol or drugs were involved in the chase, Poyer said.