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Emily Welker, Published October 16 2013

Chase, arrest in West Fargo prompted by fake report from ex

WEST FARGO – A high-speed police chase this week that ended in the arrest of a man who ran from police wearing only his underwear was prompted by a fake call to police from someone who may have been seeking revenge.

Tyler Bruun, 26, of rural West Fargo, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor fleeing and reckless driving charges after police say he led them on a vehicle and foot chase Monday night after he failed to respond to their traffic stop on his car.

According to court documents filed in the case, a man called police saying he wanted them to check on his girlfriend’s welfare because she was staying at his house in West Fargo, and it had been recently vandalized.

When police arrived at the home in the 300 block of Park Boulevard, they found a white Chevy Silverado in the driveway. The car immediately backed out, turned on its lights, and left.

Finding that the vehicle wasn’t registered to a person at that address, and suspecting the driver might know something about the vandalism or about the girlfriend’s welfare, officers tried to pull the driver over.

According to the report, that’s when the driver, instead of stopping, blew through several stop signs and hit Main Avenue and headed onto Interstate 94 at high speed. The chase eventually headed onto a gravel road and stopped at 3611 38th St. W., where the driver, clad only in underwear, socks and a long-sleeved shirt, ran from the vehicle and tried to hide in a shed on the property.

The rural West Fargo home turned out to be that of Bruun and his parents, according to the police report. He eventually surrendered to police there.

A woman who was in the vehicle told officers she and Bruun had been having sex in the driveway of her home and left when cars showed up. She told officers she did not know why Bruun had fled, and that, frightened, she had told him numerous times to stop during the pursuit.

Police previously said Bruun was driving with a suspended license.

His attorney, Lindsey Haugen, declined comment.

The woman identified the person who made the original call to police as her ex-boyfriend, whose name is not given in the report. She confirmed to police the home had recently been vandalized, but she did not wish to file a report.

West Fargo Assistant Police Chief Mike Reitan said it’s clear that the caller was lying to police.

“There was a motive for him to have them respond to that scene,” Reitan said. “I’m certain he did receive some satisfaction that something happened to the individual [Bruun].”

Still, Reitan said there isn’t enough evidence to charge the ex-boyfriend with filing a false report, as he didn’t falsely implicate someone else in a crime.

Reitan said it’s all too common for police to respond reports they suspect are filed vindictively.

“On different occasions, we’ll have ex-spouses ask us to do welfare checks on children,” to which they’re obligated to respond, he said. “A lot of the time it’s without basis – then it becomes, at what point are you harassing this person?”

If police suspect someone is using their services to seek revenge, they would have to establish a pattern of behavior to warrant a charge of harassment.

“People lie to us all the time,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541