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Car theft suspect stops I-94 traffic, climbs on semi

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A man later identified as Brett Huber stands on top of a truck on Interstate 94 east of Osakis on Saturday, March 18. He was later arrested. (contributed)2 / 3
Brett Huber3 / 3

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- A call that began as a stolen vehicle over the weekend ended with traffic at a standstill on Interstate 94 as numerous law enforcement agencies worked to apprehend a 25-year-old man who had climbed on top of a semi-truck.

About 1:51 p.m. Saturday, March 18, the Alexandria Police Department received a report of a vehicle stolen from NAPA Auto Parts in Alexandria.

The vehicle was found in Osakis, where Brett Huber, 25, had crashed it behind the Veterans of Foreign Wars club. Osakis Police Officer Josh Hanson said that after wrecking the vehicle, Huber ran barefoot across a frozen pond and entered the attached garage of a nearby residence, and took off with a second stolen vehicle.

The home and the vehicle belonged to Adam Saltmarsh of Osakis.

“It just wasn’t cool to see my van flying through my front yard,” Saltmarsh said. “I tried to chase him down but it wasn’t worth my life.”

After taking the van, Huber took off down 115th Avenue in Osakis, police said.

“He went straight into the chicken wire fence on the side of 94 and blasted through that,” Hanson said. “That’s how he ended up in the median.”

Huber then began running on I-94 east of Osakis, bringing traffic to a stop and where he eventually climbed on top of a semi-truck.

Huber then jumped from the truck to the top of an Alexandria Fire Department truck, then back to the top of the semi before returning to the ground and leading officers on a foot pursuit, officers said.

He was arrested shortly afterward.

According to Hanson, law enforcement officials spent 45 minutes to an hour on the interstate with Huber.

Huber, no listed address, is being held in the Todd County Jail on charges of first degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.

“I’m just glad no one was killed or injured severely, even him (Huber),” Saltmarsh said. “Who knows what was going on in his head or what was going on in his life. Yeah, he did something not right, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person … I hope he gets the treatment he needs to be a better person in the long run.”  

Law enforcement agencies involved in the incident include the Minnesota State Patrol, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Alexandria Police Department, the Osakis Police Department, the Todd County Sheriff's Office and the Alexandria Fire Department.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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