Man arrested after hitting van while fleeing officer, trying to escape from hospital

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester man is in custody after police say he hit a van while fleeing an officer and trying to escape after being taken to the hospital.

The Rochester Police Department said an officer was on the 1100 block of 2nd St SE on Saturday around 5:45 p.m. when a vehicle passed them heading west and suddenly speed up. The officer recognized the driver as Andrew Gustafson and knew he had several warrants for his arrest.

The officer started making a U-turn to follow Gustafson. The officer watched Gustafson as he approached 11th Ave SE and failed to stop at the stop sign. He then turned onto 11th Ave SE and fled through both lanes of traffic before sliding into a snowbank. He was able to get free from the snowbank and continued north on 11th Ave.

The officer was able to get to 11th Ave and looked north and saw Gustafson was approaching a red light where a line of cars was waiting. Gustafson moved into oncoming traffic to get through the light where he t-boned a van.

Both people in the van were taken to the hospital. The 55-year-old driver was not seriously hurt but a 48-year-old woman in the passenger seat may have fractured ribs and a fractured leg.

When the officer got to the scene a traffic signal in the northeast corner of the intersection was knocked over and that Gustafson’s vehicle had crashed head-on into a power pole. Gustafson was no longer in the car.

Another officer was in the area and saw the crash and Gustafson fleeing his vehicle. The officer was able to chase and arrest Gustafson.

Gustafson was taken to the hospital after complaining of a head injury. Officers also noticed his movement and speech was slow as if he were under the influence of something.

Once at the hospital officers were able to conduct field sobriety tests and determined Gustafson was under the influence.

The officer returned to their squad car to complete paperwork for a search warrant to draw blood for further testing.

When the officer went back inside he was told Gustafson was supposed to be in an X-ray room but had escaped. He was soon located in a parking ramp across the street and was taken back into custody.

Gustafson is facing possible charges of felony criminal vehicular operation and fleeing an officer on foot. Additional charges are possible pending the results of his blood test.