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Forum staff reports, Published March 18 2009

Man identified in high-speed chase, apparent suicide

UPDATED 4:00 p.m.

MOORHEAD – Clay County authorities this afternoon identified a man who was found dead after a high-speed car chase Tuesday night that ended near Interstate 94 and Minnesota Highway 34 at Barnesville.

Rickey Lee Savazin, of Baxter Springs, Kan., died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following the chase, said Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist.

The chase is believed to have begun in Page, N.D., after a report of a suspicious person.

A Cass County Sheriff's Deputy turned his vehicle lights on and the vehicle took off, Capt. Rick Majerus said.

"Unless it's life and death, we don't continue on the chase," Majerus said.

A North Dakota Highway Patrol officer followed the vehicle into Minnesota.

Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said the chase crossed into Minnesota sometime around 9 p.m.

Authorities used stop sticks to slow the Jeep Wrangler, which was apparently stolen from Kansas, Bergquist said. The Minnesota State Patrol used a maneuver to bump the Jeep’s back bumper and cause it to spin into the ditch.

The driver of the vehicle, Savazin, was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a handgun, Bergquist said. Savazin was declared dead at the scene.

Savazin did not fire at law enforcement and officers didn’t fire at the him, Bergquist said.

Savazin's remains will be sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner for an autopsy, Bergquist said.