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Man accused of assaulting, chasing woman

WINONA — A Winona man is behind bars after allegedly assaulting and threatening an ex-girlfriend, authorities say.

Deshane Von Crutcher-Blass Jr., 22, has been charged with felony counts of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and domestic assault by strangulation, in addition to one count of gross misdemeanor domestic assault.

His initial appearance is June 29 in Winona County District Court. He remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 unconditional bond.

The investigation began June 16, when several 911 calls reported a female running across the intersection of U.S. Highway 61 and Minnesota Highway 43; she was bleeding and a vehicle appeared to be chasing her in an attempt to hit her, court documents say.

The woman was taken to the hospital, where she refused to name her assailant, then provided the name "Terrell," and a description inconsistent with what witnesses told police. She eventually agreed to give officers a "thumbs-up" if officers found the man.


Authorities knew the victim had requested a stand-by in April as she retrieved her belongings from a residence rented by Crutcher-Blass; it was the same address she gave as "Terrell's."

The woman allegedly told officers "he's going to kill me for calling the cops," "even if I tell you who did this, it's not going to matter; it's going to be worse on me," and "I'm not safe right now."

The victim said she'd run into her ex-boyfriend and gave him a ride; she refused to name him, but said they'd broken up in April. As the two talked in her parked car, the ex-boyfriend asked if they could reconcile. When the woman told him no, he began to hit her in the face, the complaint says.

She scrambled into the back cargo area of the vehicle; the man followed her and hit her in the head with two bottles. When she climbed into the middle passenger area of the vehicle, the man again followed her and choked her until she nearly lost consciousness. During the assault, he reportedly told her, "I don't want to hit you. Why do you make me do this?"

According to the complaint, when the assault ended, the ex-boyfriend said, "I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to kill you," and told the woman he'd take her to the hospital. The woman jumped out of the vehicle at a stoplight and ran along the highway.

The man tried to pull in front of her and accelerated toward her, court documents say; the woman told officers he would have run her over if she hadn't run between two vehicles in a nearby parking lot. When she ran inside a business, the ex-boyfriend drove off in her vehicle.

While officers searched for the man, hospital staff called to say a man had come to see the victim. When they arrived, they identified Crutcher-Blass, who refused to speak with them and denied knowing anything about a man named "Terrell."

The two left the hospital together on foot with an officer following in an unmarked squad. Crutcher-Blass "appeared to be checking to see if they were being watched," court documents say, and led the woman right to her vehicle.


He was arrested at the vehicle; after he was in custody, the victim gave an officer a "thumbs up" and whispered, "thank you."

She later told authorities she'd messaged Crutcher-Blass to come to the hospital because she felt it was the only way police would catch him, then admitted he was the man who'd assaulted her. The woman allegedly said there had been past abuse and she was afraid she was going to die.

Crutcher-Blass called the victim from jail, the complaint says, telling her "I need you to fix this," "get me out," and "they're going to make me rot for years." He reportedly asked her to lie about the incident, and told her she needed to start listening to him.

A review of his criminal history reveals Crutcher-Blass is on felony probation, pursuant to a stay of adjudication for domestic assault by strangulation.

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