Officer injured after being pinned between vehicles by intoxicated driver
A Rochester man was arrested Saturday night after hitting a number of vehicles and pinning a police officer between cars while trying to leave a parking lot in downtown Rochester.
The 35-year-old faces a felony count of criminal vehicular operation but wasn't charged yet Monday morning. The Post-Bulletin typically doesn't identify suspects until they've been charged.
The incident began about 9:45 p.m. with an argument between the suspect and a woman he was with outside Legends Bar and Grill, 11 Fourth St. SE. The couple was denied entrance to the business, the report says, and headed back to their vehicle.
Witnesses said the man accelerated out of his parking space and struck a curb or raised sidewalk; he put the car in reverse and struck a parked vehicle.
Two officers on downtown duty Saturday — there were six officers patrolling downtown, said Capt. John Sherwin — saw and heard the initial impact and ran toward the car.
The driver accelerated again through the lot immediately behind Legends, turning east, then north, when it clipped the back of a parked pickup truck, the report says.
One of the officers, Steven Osborne, jumped out of the way as the suspect continued to accelerate through the city-owned lot, Sherwin said, but the pickup was pushed into the vehicle parked beside it, which was pushed into a third parked car — trapping Osborne between the two.
The second officer who had responded drew his firearm, Sherwin said, as the tires on the suspect's vehicle continued to spin. The officer holstered his gun when the driver put the car in reverse, took out his baton and broke out the driver's side window, the report says.
Osborne was able to free himself and actually assisted in detaining the 35-year-old, who was resisting, Sherwin said. A stun gun eventually was used to subdue him.
Osborne was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was treated for cuts and contusions to his legs, then released. He's been with the Rochester Police Department since May, after working in San Jose, Calif.
"I don't think (the suspect) realizes how lucky he was that our officer showed restraint and didn't shoot him," Sherwin said. "This guy took out a bunch of cars and nearly took out an officer."
The driver also faces a charge of DWI, officials said. A review of his criminal history reveals three prior convictions for DWI, in addition to multiple assault convictions.
The woman with him was released at the scene.
Rochester Police Sgt. Tony Teal said that Halloween falling on a Saturday night in conjunction with daylight saving time made for an eventful night shift for officers on duty, noting "several" fights were also reported, though none resulted in any additional arrests.
"I don't think it helps that there was an extra hour (Saturday) night," Teal said, referencing the clocks falling back an hour. "With Halloween on a Saturday night, that could have also played a role."
It's not the first time local authorities have reported injured officers over Halloween weekend in recent years.
In 2013, six law enforcement agencies responded to a 150-person "riot" at MC's Sports Bar in Winona. That incident played a key role in the bar's closure in early 2015. That incident, some of which was caught on cellphone video , included a stabbing, a bouncer having his teeth knocked out and an officer being assaulted.
MC's Sports Bar previously was called Schyde's. The building recently was purchased by Bluff Country Co-op for a planned expansion.