Drivdahl critically injured while fleeing police officers

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As he fled Benson police, Bernie Drivdahl smashed into Juan Reyes’ pickup on 12th Street South, shoving it up against Deb Beyer’s house. Drivdahl’s pickup continued through a hedge, across an alley, and into a vacant house to the north. He is currently hospitalized in St. Cloud with multiple fractures and other injuries.

People living along 12th Street South near Minnesota Avenue in Benson were awakened just before 1 a.m. Sunday by two loud bangs.

For no one were the sounds of Bernard Michael Drivdahl’s small pickup smashing into a parked pickup on 12th street louder than for Deb Beyer. Drivdahl’s pickup blasted a parked pickup owned by Juan Reyes off the street and into her front porch before plowing through a hedge and into the neighboring house to the north. She was among the group of people gathered outside as law enforcement and the Benson Fire Department worked to ensure the scene was safe.
When Drivdahl’s pickup hit the house at 312 12th Street South, which is for sale with no one living in it, it hit the natural gas meter breaking a pipe. Law enforcement and the Swift County-Benson Hospital ambulance crew had to extricate Drivdahl from his vehicle while gas was still leaking from a broken pipe.

Drivdahl was then taken into custody and transported to the Swift County-Benson Hospital by ambulance. He was later transported by a LifeLink helicopter to Centracare hospital in St. Cloud where he was treated for arm and leg fractures as well as other injuries.
Drivdahl was fleeing from a Benson police officer who had attempted to stop him shortly before 1 a.m. on the 1200 block of Wisconsin Avenue. As the officer pursued Drivdahl through the southeast residential area of Benson his speeds topped 70 mph, according to a report form the Benson Police Department

“The pursuit ended in the 300 block of 12th Street South when the vehicle veered off the road striking a parked pickup truck and crashing into an unoccupied home,” the report said.

When officers approached Drivdahl’s vehicle, it was still accelerating, its rear tires digging into the ground.

When Drivdahl is released from the hospital he is likely to face DUI charges, felony fleeing a police officer charges, criminal damage to property charges, and a whole list of charges, Chief Ian Hodge said. Upon his release, a warrant will be issued for his arrest, however, it is likely that he will recuperate some time at home before being taken into custody.

Benson’s Fire Department was called to assist at the scene as well as the Swift County Sheriff’s Office.

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