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Minnesota man may have fallen off bluff into Mississippi after police chase

ST. PAUL -- Crews searched by boat and by air Monday for a man who ran toward a Mississippi River bluff after St. Paul officers pulled him over, according to the police department.

Later on Monday, a body was found in the river, near the Ford Dam, but officials cautioned that it was too soon to say if the body was that of the fleeing motorist.

Police did not know whether the man in that case went in the river, Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman, said earlier in the day.

The situation began when officers saw a sport-utility vehicle driving fast early Monday but lost sight of it. Soon after, about 1:30 a.m., they saw the vehicle again “prowling” an alley. Police followed him and the driver pulled the SUV off the road and onto a walkway and then ran, Ernster said. He went into the woods toward the river bluff and disappeared. It’s a steep drop to the river.

“Officers were concerned the male had possibly not known the area and ran off the river bluff, and they searched the area for him in case he was trapped or injured,” Ernster said. Two other people were in the SUV when the driver ran.

The Minnesota State Patrol helicopter joined the search for the driver, using infrared, police said. St. Paul and Minneapolis firefighters also used boats to check the river.

After sunup Monday morning, the State Patrol helicopter and St. Paul firefighters searched again but did not find the man. About 4:45 p.m. Monday, officials were notified about the body in the river.

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