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Police: Motorist dies after fleeing officers, jumping from Mississippi River bridge

ST. PAUL -- A man died Thursday night after fleeing police officers in his car, stopping on a Mississippi River bridge in St. Paul and jumping, according to police.

Police were trying to stop the driver for traffic violations, according to South St. Paul police Cmdr. Brian Wicke. The driver had gone through a red stoplight and was driving at a “high rate of speed,” according to  initial emergency radio traffic posted by MN Police Clips. The man, whose name has not been released, initially stopped, but sped away before an officer could talk to him, Wicke said.

West St. Paul and South St. Paul police were involved in the pursuit as the man got on U.S. 52, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman. The pursuit was relatively low speed, Wicke said. At one point, the driver reached 75 mph, according to a police radio transmission.

When the man was driving on the Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul, he suddenly stopped on the shoulder, got out and jumped over the east railing, Linders said. The driver landed in a grassy area between the river and Warner Road.

The bridge stretches about 3,300 feet and crosses the Mississippi River as well as several city streets, rail lines, a bike trail and parking lots. It stands about 50 feet above the river.

St. Paul police officers, who were not part of the pursuit, responded and rendered aid, Linders said. The man died at the scene.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating, according to Linders.