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Update: Vehicle crashes into school in St. Paul during police chase

No injuries sustained but incident brings back memories of horrific 2012 crash at the school

UPDATE - A 24-year-old woman from St. Paul has been charged with robbery, assault, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer, fail to comply and uttering threats.

Jordana Crane was taken before a Justice of the Peace for a bail hearing and was remanded into custody to appear on July 9 in St. Paul Provincial Court.

See original Story Below

ST. PAUL - Sgt. David Graham of the St. Paul RCMP said "this must have been a very scary situation for the victims involved.  We are glad they were able to escape without any significant physical injuries.  We are also grateful that nobody was injured when the suspect fled from us and hit the school.   There's always an element of risk in these situations and although there is some property damage we are lucky that nobody was seriously injured.  Public safety is always our top priority."

A stolen vehicle crashed through a front window of Racette School just before midnight Tuesday while being pursued by St. Paul RCMP. While the school was empty and no one, including the driver of the vehicle, was injured, the incident is bringing back memories of a horrific crash in October 2012 when a van slammed into Racette School, at that time temporarily located where Portage College is, critically injuring three girls in their classroom.

St. Paul RCMP Sgt. Dave Graham said the detachment received a report of a car-jacking just after 11:30 p.m last night. He told Lakeland Today that an adult female had allegedly threatened a driver and passengers of a vehicle, telling them to get out or they would be hurt.

"After the victims left the vehicle, they took off and called police. The vehicle then left. While out patrolling, one of the members located that vehicle a short time later. A short pursuit ensued where that vehicle ended up going off the road and into the school."

A female was arrested at the scene without incident following the crash, Graham said. She was checked by EMS that scene and is now in custody awaiting swearing of charges and a bail hearing in connection with the robbery of the vehicle.

The pursuit began in the area of the Galaxy Motel on Main Street.

"The cause of the collision into the building would still be under investigation obviously because we don't know exactly sure what caused it," Graham said, adding he was unsure at this point as to the speeds reached during the time of the police chase.

"When something happens like this, we do a review of the pursuit to ensure it complied with policy. That's all part of our investigation in checks and balances to make sure we were good."

St. Paul Education Superintendent Glen Brodziak got a call about 12:30 a.m. that a vehicle had hit the school.

We will be getting a structural engineer in either today or tomorrow. Visually, it went partially through the window. The vehicle, from what I understand, was not all the way into the school. We are hoping there won't be structural damage but that will be to be determined. Our main priority is that students and staff were not in school and no one was hurt."

Brodziak said it was "definitely bizarre to get that kind of call at 12:30," given the fact that while it may be a different building from that of the 2012, it was Racette School.

"It definitely brings back some memories. So we will be calling our staff and lending support as needed."

St. Paul Fire Chief Trevor Kotowich said the fire department received a call shortly after midnight.

"Given the circumstances that were presenting themselves, we cleared very quickly," Kotowich said adding the incident is a police matter and there was no need of the fire department's services other to ensure there was no public safety danger or fire danger at the scene, which there was not.

Kotowich said the fire department had responded Friday afternoon to a separate incident that occurred at the Kings Motel when a vehicle crashed through the front wall of the motel. No information is yet available on how that occurred.

*Story was updated at 2:30 p.m. on July 8 to reflect further information released by RCMP

Clare Gauvreau

About the Author: Clare Gauvreau

Clare Gauvreau has worked for the St. Paul Journal for more than 20 years as a journalist, editor and publisher. In her role today as newspaper publisher she continues to contribute news and feature articles on a regular basis.
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