Stolen 57 Chevy damaged our squad car


On the evening of October 5th, 1975 I heard on the police scanner of someone breaking and entering a place south of Eveleth, guns were taken. It turned out the vehicle used was a stolen 57 Chevy station wagon. This car was in the process of being restored and it was reported by the law enforcement to be hopped up so it may be faster than the police cars.


As I listened to the scanner the stolen car passed through Eveleth and Virginia. A road block was set north of Virginia at the intersection with Highway 169. When the stolen car got past the road block and was heading for Cook I got a bit more interested.


Being I was on ambulance standby that evening I thought a call may come for our ambulance service if an accident happened from this chase. About that time the Deputy Sheriff and State Patrol had asked our Police Chief Ray Kelm to set up a road block at Cook


When I went to the Fire Hall to get the ambulance I found Ray Kelm there. He said he planned on setting the road block at the Johnson Road on the south edge of Cook so as not to endanger people in town. While he parked his car on the highway I set the ambulance between the railroad tracks and the highway on the Johnson Road. By then there were a number of people around us as others had heard the scanner reports. As we listened to the ambulance radio scanner we knew the chase was getting closer. Ray Kelm had his double barrel shot gun ready.


There were a number of law enforcement vehicles chasing this stolen car so we could hear the sirens as they approached Cook. Then I saw what looked like a typical movie scene of police cars chasing the crook, flashing lights and sirens. I heard the loud exhaust pipes of the hopped up Chevy as it slowed down to make an effort of running yet another road block. There was Ray Kelm standing beside his squad car in the middle of the highway with his one lone red flashing light on top of Cook's first marked squad car.


The stolen Chevy slowed and turned to the shoulder to pass Ray's squad, and in so doing hit the right rear corner of our squad car. As the stolen car continued headed north toward Cook, Ray turned and he took a shot at it with his gun, I expected the back window to shatter as in the movies but I guess he must have missed the Chevy all together. He said he was shooting at the rear tires.


The pursuing police cars continued chasing the stolen vehicle. Ray jumped in his squad car but the transmission would only operate in reverse. He parked the squad on the Johnson Road.


Ray jumped in the ambulance with me and we drove as fast as we could but we could not catch the chase. I expected to see an accident that would need the services of our ambulance.


The hopped up Chevy had been hitting up to a 100 miles per hour during the chase from Virginia but now it had a broken tie rod from hitting the Cook Squad car so he could not go as fast as the front tires were not stable, especially on corners.


When we arrived in Orr we found a logging truck had been set up across the highway for a road block which was very effective. The police had the driver standing with his hands on the top of the stolen car as in the movies. Soon they put the hand cuffs on him and took him on a slower ride to the Virginia Jail.


Cook's first marked squad car, donated from St. Louis County

Ray & Helen, she rode with to man the radio
story by Don Simonson


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