TRF Man Victim in Crookston Fatality 05 Sep 11

A Thief River Falls man is dead, his wife seriously injured, after their vehicle became embroiled in an altercation between Police and an Assault
Suspect Saturday.

78 year old Eddie Briggs was pronounced dead on arrival at Riverview Hospital after the pickup he was driving was struck by a stolen Police
Squad Car driven by 23 year old Ricardo Mello of Crookston. A passenger in the pickup, 57 year old Patricia Briggs, is listed in fair condition at
Riverview Hospital in Crookston.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol and Crookston Police, the incident began just before 2:30 Saturday afternoon, when Police responded to a report of 2 men – Mello and 42 year old Carlos Ramero Jr. – threatening others, embroiled in a heated argument – a disagreement over money – first behind the VFW, then near the Crooks Bar in Downtown Crookston.

Romero was apparently cooperative with officers as they arrived, but Mello ignored verbal commands, walking into the Crooks Bar, where the situation became combative. Mello is accused of turning on officers who used mace and tasers to try to get the situation under control, but Mello fought with officers, then fled the scene, stealing the police cruiser and speeding away, losing control just blocks later – crossing the center line and striking the Briggs pickup at the intersection of Main and Broadway.

Mello was injured in the collision, taken to Riverview Hospital – where he was involved in a second confrontation with officers before being
transferred to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks where he was released last night and is now being held at the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston.

Mello faces charges of assault, theft of a motor vehicle, criminal vehicular operations, terroristic threats, property damage, obstructing
the legal process and a controlled substance violation – with additional charges very likely.

Romero is also being held in custody, accused of making terroristic threats. Both vehicles were totaled in the accident. Rescue workers were assisted at the scene by Crookston Fire Fighters. The case remains under investigation by Crookston Police and the Minnesota State Patrol.