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High-speed chase, family style

If a high-speed chase up Pilot Knob Road on New Year's day is any kind of indicator, Farmington police officers will have an exciting year ahead of them.

Circumstances surrounding the incident -- which led to the arrest of a 27-year-old Farmington woman -- actually began Dec. 30, when officers were called to the 18200 block of Emerald Tr.

According to Farmington police sergeant Jim Murphy, police officers first went to the home because family members of a man who lived there asked officers to check on the man's well-being. The man, Murphy said, had reportedly told family members he was "the Messiah," and that the next time relatives would see something about his family it would be "on the news."

Officers knocked on the door but did not make contact with the man. They returned to the home the next day, Dec. 31, when family members again reported the man was making disturbing statements. Again, officers could not make contact with the individual.

On Jan. 1, Farmington officers were called to the home once more, at approximately 11:10 a.m. A family member had asked officers to check on the man's welfare. Officers arrived at the home around 11:40 a.m.

When they arrived, Murphy said, officers saw a green Ford Expedition idling in front of the home. The SUV was registered to the family, though officers had learned that neither the man nor the woman who lived at that residence had valid driver's licenses.

Officers activated their emergency lights and pulled the vehicle over on Pilot Knob Road and Upper 182nd Street, Murphy said. As one officer approached the vehicle, though, the driver, identified as 27-year-old Rowena Deanne Brooks, sped away.

Brooks was clocked at speeds from 80 to 100 miles per hour, Murphy said. Officers called ahead to neighboring departments, warning officers of the chase and asking for assistance. Eagan officers responded by closing intersections and placing two sets of spikes on Pilot Knob Road in an effort to stop the fleeing vehicle.

Brooks was able to miss the first set of spikes, Murphy said, but came to a stop just north of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road after hitting the second set.

Once the tires blew, the Expedition slowed to about 10 miles per hour, then came to a stop. Farmington officer Sean Scovill, who had been in pursuit of the vehicle, nudged the passenger door with his squad to make sure the Expedition had come to a stop and that the adult male passenger inside did not try to flee on foot.

When officers got to the vehicle, they found that Brooks had five passengers -- the man whose welfare they had been asked to check and four children, ages 2, 4, 8 and 11. The man was transported to an area hospital for evaluation. Brooks was charged with fleeing a police officer and child endangerment. The children were released to the custody of extended family.

The question of why Brooks took off so fast will likely not be answered for some time. When officers tried to question Brooks at the scene, she immediately asked for a lawyer, Murphy said.

Minneapolis officers were involved in a pursuit with the same vehicle earlier in the week, Murphy said.