Police chase, hazmat situation in Lino Lakes sends 9 to hospital

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Lino Lakes

UPDATE 3/23 3:00 p.m.: Police identified the driver as Jason Pointing in a criminal complaint Thursday, charging him with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. If convicted, Pointing faces up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

A police chase from Blaine, Minnesota to Lino Lakes, Minnesota ended with a strange twist Tuesday morning, with nine people taken to the hospital for exposure to noxious fumes.

According to the Blaine Police Department, officers attempted to pull a van over for suspicious activity near the Walmart on Ball Road in Blaine and were led on a chase, ending with a PIT maneuver near the corner of County Road 23 and Town Center Parkway in Lino Lakes.

Nine people, including four police officers, three EMS members and the driver of the vehicle were taken to a nearby hospital following the incident after being overcome by fumes in the area. All nine people complained of scratchy throats and were underwent chemical decontamination at a nearby hospital. 

The North Metro Chemical Assessment Team determined the source of the fumes was a leaking propane tank and a variety of used spray paint cans in the back of the van. The officers and the van's driver were treated for symptoms of aerosol inhalation and released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon, officials said. 

Both suspects were questioned by police after they found a loaded firearm in the vehicle. The passenger was eventually released, though officials say the investigation is currently ongoing.