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From the Editor’s Notebook

By Staff | Jun 7, 2020

It was interesting to have an interview with three people who knew Jerry Kabe the best, all at the same time.

His wife, Evie, daughter Paula, and best friend and co-worker Roger Fletcher all had lots of stories to tell about Jerry, who past away this past April 23.

The stories were all pretty hilarious and told the history of a great guy, who was funny, loved to laugh, visit with everyone and have a good time no matter where he was, who he was with and what was going on.

I am sure the stories could have gone on for a long time, because there are lots of them. I had to pick and choose from among them all when I wrote the story that is in this week’s edition of the Register in our Senior Section.

I loved the stories of the hot 1960s and 1970s muscle cars that the sheriff and his deputies bought on their own. It is hard to imagine these flashy speed machines with emergency lights flashing.

Or the fact they had to buy their own guns and bullets and that there were only two of them patrolling the whole county.

Life has certainly changed since those “Good Old Days.”

There was one story about Jerry that I was going to put in the story, but then I took it out. It had to do with a high-speed chase in downtown Blue Earth back in 1963.

The reason I took it out was that Loren Eckhardt, who also worked with Jerry Kabe, found out I was doing this story and brought in a newspaper clipping from the Dec. 19, 1963 Blue Earth Post which was all about this infamous car chase.

So I decided to run the story in its entirety here in my column space.

It is classic Jerry Kabe.

One warning. You need to read the story all the way to the very end.

Here it is.

A 16-year-old Minneapolis juvenile a recent high school dropout was jailed Wednesday afternoon following a wild chase down an icy Blue Earth Main Street.

The youth, driving a stolen car, was stopped when he hit two other vehicles. He was captured while trying to escape on foot.

The action took place at about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday only minutes after police and sheriff’s officers received a report that the driver had sped out of a Vernon Center gasoline station without paying for a tank of gas. As officers headed north on Highway 169 they received a further report that a car fitting the Vernon Center description had been stolen a few hours earlier in Fridley.

Deputy Sheriff Jerry Kabe waited in his car at Riverside Heights, north of Blue Earth, and recognized the car as it passed the intersection. The youth also saw Kabe and moved his car, a 1961 Oldsmobile “into high gear.” Police Chief Carl Germann was driving north out of the city when Kabe and the youth passed him going in the opposite direction. Both officers agreed the boy was going about 100 miles per hour. They said he narrowly missed other cars on North Main Street.

Germann swung around and all three cars swept south on Main Street. The youth apparently tried to turn into an alley between the Avalon Theater and Romas’ Candy Kitchen, but couldn’t make it because of the icy streets.

Meanwhile Jack Olson of Blue Earth, driving a panel truck, had stopped on Main to wait for a car that was backing out. The stolen auto hit his truck in the rear, then slammed into a 1963 Oldsmobile parked at the curb, owned by Robert A. Smith, recently of Austin, now of Fairmont.

The youth jumped from the car and ran down an alley into which he had tried to turn his car. Kabe took off after him on foot, and Germann blocked the other end of the alley with his car. The youth stopped running when Kabe threatened to shoot if he didn’t stop. He was handcuffed and booked at the county jail.

The Smith car received about $100 worth of damage to its left rear, while there was lesser damage to the Olson truck and stolen car.

The youth has been turned over to the Anoka County authorities to face the auto theft charges.

The sheriff’s office issued a warning to other motorists following the event when officials learned the youth had driven off with the vehicle after it was parked with the motor running. Asked where he was going with the stolen car, the youth said he didn’t know, he was “just driving.” He told officers he had been involved in a car theft once before with another youth.

The only personal effects he had with him were a billfold, social security card and a few cents in change.

One more thing.

When Kabe ordered the youth to “halt or I’ll shoot,” the deputy sheriff was not carrying a gun.