When a good Samaritan stopped to help after a stolen vehicle rolled over on a St. Paul highway, one of its occupants — Sydney Ann McKellepp — pushed him, hopped into his SUV and led police on a chase that ended with her arrest, according to charges.
McKellepp, 22, of St. Paul, faces four felonies relating to Monday night’s incident: theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing police in a motor vehicle, simple robbery and receiving stolen property. She went before a judge Thursday and bail was set at $35,000; she remained at the Ramsey County jail.
According to the criminal complaint:
St. Paul police were called to eastbound Interstate 94 at Lexington Parkway about 11:10 p.m. to assist the Minnesota State Patrol with a rollover accident. Upon arrival, officers saw an unidentified man walking up the highway embankment away from the crash scene.
Officers then saw a man trying to pull the driver out of a Nissan Rogue SUV and being dragged a short distance as it fled the scene.
The 22-year-old man, who was not injured, told officers he had stopped to check on the wellbeing of a man and woman who had been in the crashed Toyota RAV4 SUV. He said the woman pushed him from behind and that he tried getting her out of the driver’s seat as she drove away in his Nissan. The man, who had a valid permit to carry, said his Glock handgun was stored in his glove compartment.
Meanwhile, officers discovered the crashed SUV had been reported stolen six days earlier after the owner left it running at his home in the Summit-University area.
Other officers were in pursuit of the fleeing driver, later identified as McKellepp, as she fled in the Nissan at speeds of 70 to 80 mph onto northbound Interstate 35E and then onto Cayuga Street. At Payne Avenue, officers threw down stop sticks, which deflated at least one of the tires.
But McKellepp continued to flee east on Phalen Boulevard, with several squads now in pursuit. At Atlantic Street, a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy used a pursuit intervention technique to stop the SUV. McKellepp was arrested.
Officers saw the man’s Glock handgun in a cupholder in the SUV’s center console; the man later said it must have been moved from the glove compartment.
Police discovered McKellepp had two warrants for her arrest and a suspended driver’s license.
Later, McKellepp agreed to speak with an investigator. Without being questioned, she said she stole somebody’s car and led police on a “high-speed chase,” the complaint states. She admitted that she was in the Toyota when it crashed and said that another person, whom she refused to identify, had been driving. She said she didn’t stop for the pursuing squads because she thought she was going to jail.
The man who walked away from the crash scene has not been located, Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman, said Thursday.
According to the complaint, McKellepp has an open felony case in Wright County for fifth-degree drug possession.
McKellepp’s criminal history includes one conviction: misdemeanor theft out of Anoka County in December. According to court documents, a loss prevention officer at the Fridley Wal-Mart saw her and someone with her “ticket switching” and not paying full price for two items at a total cost of $46.55. She pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to six days in the county jail, which she had already served.