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Update: Woodbury police chase ends with a crash in Lake Elmo

A southern Minnesota man faces felony charges after allegedly leading several east metro law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase Wednesday night through Woodbury.

Jose Morales, 20, of Rochester was charged March 16 in Washington County District Court with fleeing from police. Authorities said they arrested Morales after he crashed his vehicle into a tree in Lake Elmo and after police lost sight of him.

The pursuit began just after 8 p.m. when St. Paul Police attempted to stop a Silver Ford F-150 pickup truck leaving the Holiday Inn on Burns Avenue, said St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders.

According to the criminal complaint, St. Paul Police pursued Morales, but he immediately fled when he became aware of them.

The stop was part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, Linders said.

According to the complaint, St. Paul police attempted to catch up to the vehicle but didn’t activate their emergency lights to formally stop the fleeing vehicle until they were in Woodbury.

Woodbury police joined the chase after authorities said Morales led them southbound onto Woodbury Drive.

Officers told dispatchers the pursuit that followed spanned several miles and reached speeds in excess of 85 mph through the city.

A Woodbury squad car was damaged while attempting to immobilize the fleeing pickup truck, Woodbury police spokeswoman Michelle Okada said. No officers were injured, she said.

Pursuing officers eventually lost sight of the truck and called off the chase.

Washington County deputies later located the vehicle, which had crashed into a tree on the intersection of Stillwater Boulevard and Inwood Avenue in Lake Elmo.

More than a dozen police vehicles from Woodbury and surrounding departments responded near the crash scene. Search helicopters and K-9 units were also deployed.

Linders said police arrested Morales after they found him running through residential yards in the area.

Police took Morales into custody without incident, he said, adding: “I’m just glad no one was was injured.”

According to jail records, Morales was booked in Washington County at 9:56 p.m.

The pursuit comes just two days after a separate high-speed chase that began in Woodbury and ended in a 54-mile pursuit into Western Wisconsin on Interstate 94. Authorities are still seeking the 29-year-old man they believe to have been the driver.

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