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Driver dies in Wahpeton police chase

WAHPETON — One man is dead and another hospitalized with serious injuries after allegedly leading police on a chase.

Officials from the Wahpeton Police Department said police were responding to a disorderly conduct restraining order violation at about 7:35 p.m. Monday when a responding officer about a block away saw a van with two men inside and approached it on foot.

The van took off, ignoring the officer’s command to stop, Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson said in a news release.

A second officer saw a van go west at the Seventh Avenue and Fourth Street South intersection, going through a stop sign at about 20 mph.

The officer tried to get the van to pull over, but it headed west to Sixth Street North, speeding away from the patrol car and ignoring its lights and sirens, Thorsteinson said.

In the 300 block of Sixth Street North, the van started to fishtail, left the roadway and hit a power pole, rolling and throwing both the driver and a male passenger out of the vehicle, the police chief said.

The pursuit lasted about six blocks and 30 to 40 seconds. The patrol car was traveling at about 40 mph, but it’s not known how fast the van was going, Thorsteinson said.

Both men were taken by ambulance to St. Francis Healthcare Campus, where the 29-year-old driver was pronounced dead. His name was being withheld pending notification of his family.

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