FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — The Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office's pursuit policy is outlined in 13 pages.
Some of the first sentences read "pursuits require deputies to exhibit a high degree of common sense," and "deputies must not forget that the immediate apprehension of a suspect is generally not more important than the safety of the public".
The chase started shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, when deputies said they posed as an acquaintance of 30-year-old Cody Freitag on social media in an effort to lure him to a convenience store and arrest him on outstanding warrants for drugs, domestic violence and obstruction of justice.
While the events leading to the chase are unclear, deputies ended up in hot pursuit of Freitag after the arrest attempt.
According to scanner traffic, the chase only lasted a couple of minutes. One deputy dropped out of the pursuit after getting two flat tires. Investigators have not said how they became flat.
The other deputy continued the chase into downtown Fergus Falls where it ended when Freitag allegedly crashed into another vehicle at the intersection of Cavour Avenue and Union Avenue. Both people in that car, 72-year-old Steven Christianson, and his 71-year-old wife Diane, were killed.
The sheriff's office says both of the deputies have been placed on administrative leave due to the seriousness of the outcome.
The Fergus Falls Police Department is investigating whether any charges should be filed against them for their role in the crash.
The department's chase policy does not have any rules about chasing cars in downtown areas, but does state, "If the identity of the offender is known and it does not reasonably appear that the need for immediate capture outweighs the risks associated with continuing the pursuit, deputies should strongly consider discontinuing the pursuit and apprehending the offender at a later time."
The Fergus Falls police investigation will also recommend what charges Freitag should face. Freitag remains hospitalized after sustaining injuries in the crash and is expected to survive.