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Man drives car off Memorial Park

An unidentified driver hit the gas and drove off the back side of Memorial Park Friday evening. He apparently had only minor injuries, Red Wing police said. -- photo by Nancy Knudsen1 / 2
Tyler Burgess of Ellsworth (left), Caleb Gustafson of Hager City and Andrew Thompson of Ellsworth recount watching a driver take his car airborne before going down the south side of Sorin's Bluff at Memorial Park in Red Wing.2 / 2
News Red Wing,Minnesota 55066
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Man drives car off Memorial Park
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

A man drove his vehicle straight off Sorin's Bluff Friday evening and survived.

The unidentified driver, who police said they don't believe is a local resident, was taken by Red Wing Ambulance to Fairview Red Wing Medical Center for evaluation.

"It doesn't look like he has much injury," police supervisor Marty Kelly said.

The incident began when three teens noticed a car on the disc golf course atop Memorial Park. They called non-emergency dispatch at 7:54 p.m. and reported someone was driving erratically.

Andrew Thompson, 17, Ellsworth, said he and his friends saw the man driving, smoking and listening to music. A self-described habitual disc golfer, Thompson said he didn't want the course damaged. He, Caleb Gustafson, 17, Hager City, and Tyler Burgess, 17, used one cellphone to research the non-emergency number and another to call.

"We didn't think it was that big of a deal," Burgess said, explaining why they didn't call 911.

While waiting for an officer to arrive, the teens watched the driver approach the bluff edge overlooking Athletic Field and then back up near the No. 8 basket.

The guy then just waited, the teens said. A squad car arrived and the driver reacted.

"He just put it to the floor and went!" Thompson said.

The car went airborne over the road, traveled 78 feet, hit the ground and careened down the embankment. The car then traveled roughly 300 feet on the ground before coming to rest in the woods.

Paramedics and officers climbed down to reach the driver, who was transported to the hospital from the base of the bluff.

"He wanted to fight with us," Kelly said.

Police said alcohol was involved.

Anne Jacobson
Anne Jacobson has been editor of the Republican Eagle since December 2003. 
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