September 13, 2017
More information has been released on what happened in the moments leading up to a Rochester man stealing a police squad car Tuesday night.
According to Rochester Police Captain John Sherwin, an officer was patrolling the area of 3rdAve. SE around 10:30 p.m. September 12, when he turned onto 16th St. SE and a car pulled out directly in front of him from the parking lot of Phoenix Academy.
The officer said a woman got out of the vehicle from the driver’s side and began yelling and acting “frantic”. When the officer approached the woman, Captain Sherwin said she told the officer she was having car problems and she was having problems with her boyfriend, who was inside the passenger side of the car.
Not knowing if the woman was OK, the officer called for backup and also began to direct traffic as both vehicles were blocking oncoming traffic. That’s when Captain Sherwin said the passenger got out of the vehicle and ran toward his squad car. The officer ran after the man, falling at one point and getting into a struggle with the man at the door of the squad car, said Captain Sherwin. Sherwin said a person driving by noticed something was wrong and tried to block the suspect from getting away by pulling in front of the squad car.
The suspect, 23-year old Travers McDaniel, was able to take off in the squad car, hitting the civilian’s vehicle as he pulled away. Captain Sherwin said the officer radioed for backup and officers in the area were able to quickly locate McDaniel, because each squad car is equipped with a GPS tracking device.
McDaniel crashed the squad car near a picnic pavilion in the Slatterly Park neighborhood and then took off on foot, according to Captain Sherwin. A K-9 officer found McDaniel hiding behind a garage and took him down by biting his leg and right arm multiple times. Captain Sherwin said McDaniel was taken to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus for his injuries.
McDaniel faces a number of charges; including motor vehicle theft, fleeing an officer in a vehicle and on foot, DWI test refusal, hit and run and obstruction of the legal process.
The officer’s squad car sustained damage to its rims and two flat tires. Captain Sherwin said they are working with the woman who pulled out in front of the officer and did say her car had broken down.
Capt. Sherwin says they are still investigating why McDaniel stole to squad car.