Two 17-year-olds manipulated their way out of Elmore Academy on Saturday, Aug. 10 and led law enforcement officers on a wild chase through two counties.
Before they were stopped, the youth stole a vehicle and damaged three squad cars during the pursuit.
"The two youth were able to exit the building due to the manipulation of staff," says TJ?Mauer, of Youth Services International, which owns Elmore Academy.
"We are not a locked facility," continues Mauer. "Our doors are not locked. They only have alarms. Technically, if a kid wanted to walk out, they can."
The youth climbed through a window on a lower level and continued on foot for a time.
From there, they allegedly stole a pickup truck from an Elmore residence.
After that, the suspects fled town, heading toward Blue?Earth. At 10:31 p.m., a Faribault County Deputy met the suspect vehicle in Blue Earth, according to the police report.
The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop, but the vehicle fled.
Reportedly, the teenagers led officers on a chase that exited and reentered Blue Earth several times. At one point, the suspects drove the wrong way through the McDonald's drive-thru in Blue Earth.
As a consequence of that action, they struck a Faribault County Deputy squad car, causing minor damage. They also struck a Winnebago Police squad car and a Minnesota State Patrol squad car, causing significant damage to each. No officers were injured from the collisions.
The suspects continued north toward Amboy. There, the police deployed stop sticks, which caused the vehicle to lose both front tires.
The youth continued the chase until hitting a bridge just south of Vernon Center. The vehicle entered a ditch and the suspects fled on foot into a wooded area.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, one of the suspects was taken into custody. The second was arrested Sunday evening in Vernon Center.
Both are facing charges ranging from motor vehicle theft to fleeing a peace officer and first degree assault and burglary.
Mauer says that Elmore Academy is taking measures to ensure this will not happen again.
A similar incident allegedly occurred on or around July 15. It was said that YSI youth fled Elmore Academy, stole a Ford pickup and led a chase.
Mauer states the he cannot confirm this information for reasons of confidentiality.
The sheriff's department was only able to provide a redacted motor vehicle theft report and they confirmed that the youth involved in this incident were not the same ones involved in the recent chase.