Lino Lakes, Minnesota - Nine people were hospitalized Tuesday after being exposed to chemicals following a police pursuit.
Around 8:15 AM, police initiated a traffic stop on a van with two male occupants acting suspiciously near the Walmart on Ball Road. When contacted by police, the pair fled and led police on f pursuit for nearly three miles. The pursuit ended when officers performed a PIT maneuver around the Lino Lakes area of County Road 23 and Town Center Parkway, according to WCCO
As officers arrested the two occupants, they immediately began to experience respiratory issues from some sort of chemical emission coming from inside the van. Two more officers arrived and they also fell ill.
The North Metro Chemical Assessment Team immediately responded and identified the chemical agents affecting emergency personnel.
The team identified the sources as a leaking propane tank and a number of used spray cans in the vehicle. The combination of chemicals can produce symptoms similar to what the officers were experiencing: dizziness, difficulty breathing, and weakness.
The two suspects, four Blaine officers, and three EMTs were all taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids to be treated for the chemical exposure and were later released after they had been treated.
"We are happy to say all our officers have been released," said Blaine Police Lt. Dan Pelkey.
Inside the van, officers also found a loaded firearm.
The passenger was questioned and later released.
Inhaling propane or aerosol propellants can create symptoms similar to what the officers were reporting, although many use the items to get high. There's no word yet on if the suspect will be charged with driving under the influence of the chemical gasses.