A 22-year-old man with an extensive history of auto theft stole a construction company's pickup truck, fled police in Osseo and caused a two-vehicle crash in Brooklyn Park that killed the other motorist and severely injured his wife, officials said Monday.
The wreck involving the pickup and the SUV occurred shortly after 7:20 a.m. Sunday on southbound County Road 81 at Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Park police said.
The driver who died was a 57-year-old man from Maple Grove, said Brooklyn Park Deputy Police Chief Mark Bruley. His wife was sitting next to him and was "critically injured but [is] expected to survive," Bruley said.
Osseo police identified the couple as Daniel J. Fisher and 43-year-old Cathleen M. Fisher.
The deputy chief said the SUV was stopped at a red light on County Road 81 when it was hit from behind by the stolen pickup. Osseo police say the pickup fled their city before officers could even start to pursue it.
Adam H. Pattishall, 22, of North St. Paul, is in jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide.
An Osseo police incident report noted that Pattishall was taken to North Memorial "for possibly ingesting narcotics" before later being jailed.
Pattishall has been charged in Minnesota at least six times in less than 4½ years with auto theft, according to court records. He was convicted on that charge in four of the cases, while the other two criminal complaints resulted in felony burglary convictions.
His most recent conviction came 12 months ago in Rice County for careless driving, having a suspended license and driving with no insurance during a stop at 2:50 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2021. Pattishall reportedly said he "didn't know who the car belongs to." The original citation said the car was reported stolen, but a subsequent report said the car was not reported stolen.
The pickup involved in Sunday's crash was stolen earlier that day from a warehouse in Plymouth, said the head of the construction company.
Cathy Schmidt, president and CEO of Stahl Construction, said two people broke into the warehouse. One found the keys to the pickup and drove off while wearing a hard hat and vest and hauling away other items that she declined to specify.
"They got into our warehouse through a vacant [warehouse] tenant space," Schmidt said. "They broke through a wall and disabled our computer system that tracks anybody in the space."
Schmidt said her company is cooperating with police in their investigation, and "we are expressing our sympathy for the victims."
According to Brooklyn Park police:
Osseo police notified Brooklyn Park police that a pickup truck driver had fled from one of their officers "at a high rate of speed" on southbound County Road 81 into Brooklyn Park.
The fleeing motorist soon struck an SUV, whose driver was declared dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel. Cathleen Fisher, a passenger in the SUV, was taken by emergency medical responders to North Memorial Health Hospital with severe injuries. She was in critical condition as of late Monday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.
A 911 caller alerted police to the fleeing driver's location, and Pattishall was arrested nearby at a Speedway gas station.
Osseo Police Chief Shane Mikkelson said an officer saw a vehicle at a car wash earlier Sunday and noticed that one of the car's license plates was covered, and the officer thought that "it looked like it was done on purpose." The stolen pickup also was at the car wash, the chief said.
While the officer was circling the car wash in his squad car, the pickup "floored it out of the wash bay," Mikkelson said. "[The officer] never turned on his lights or siren. He was never in pursuit of the vehicle."
The officer reported that the pickup was heading toward Brooklyn Park, and he continued driving in that direction "at normal speeds" until he reached the crash scene, the chief said.