High-speed chase ends in arrest at gunpoint

A man known for his distinctive tattoos and extensive criminal history is in the Mille Lacs County Jail after being arrested at gunpoint Dec. 30, 2013, after leading deputies on a high-speed chase through northwestern Mille Lacs County.

Authorities were on the lookout for an older, green Saturn automobile that may have been involved in an armed robbery earlier in the day in Aitkin County.

At about 2:45 p.m., a Mille Lacs County deputy observed a similar vehicle southbound on Highway 169 just south of the casino at about 2:45 p.m. and a pursuit ensued, according to incident reports from the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office.

Because the occupants were allegedly involved in an armed robbery, authorities were cautioned that a firearm could be in the vehicle.

The vehicle turned west on Vineland Road, south of the casino, and continued west to Timber Trail Road, which is Highway 25, where it failed to stop at a stop sign, according to court records. At that point, the vehicle rapidly accelerated.

At that point, the deputy activated his squad car’s lights and sirens and continued pursuing the vehicle, which passed several other vehicles in no passing zones, court records state. The vehicle eventually turned onto Highway 27 and continued fleeing at speeds up to 120 mph at times, records state.

Other deputies set up spike strips at the intersection of Highway 27 and Shakopee Lake Road, but the driver of the vehicle was able to swerve around the spike strips. The vehicle eventually went into a ditch, which allowed some of the nine law enforcement officers to eventually be involved in the incident to block the vehicle in, court records state.

The driver, later identified at Vernon Terry Surratt, 33, of Coon Rapids, was ordered from his vehicle at gunpoint and taken into custody. A passenger, Kali Nelson, 23, of St. Cloud, was also arrested.

The vehicle was reported stolen out Oakdale. Inside the vehicle was a television that authorities believed was taken in a Aitkin County burglary. Jewelry and silverware valued at $1,000 were also located in the vehicle.

Nelson told authorities she assisted Surratt during the Aitkin County burglary. She also admitted that during the pursuit she threw a firearm out of the window of the vehicle at Surratt’s request, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mille Lacs County District Court.

The firearm, court records state, match the description of one used by Surratt during an aggravated robbery in Minnetonka.

The two were also suspects in a burglary attempt earlier on Dec. 30 in Mille Lacs County, court records state.

Surratt was charged with fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property. Charges of third-degree burglary and a handful of traffic offenses have since been added to his list of charged offenses. Nelson was charged with aiding and abetting the receiving of stolen property and aiding an offender.

Surratt has a shaved head with the word “power” tattooed on his forehead. Tattooed above his upper lip are the words “most hated.” A booking photo show Surratt’s head, neck and upper chest covered in tattoos.

Surratt was arrested and charged with a February 2010 home invasion in Isanti. There have been 14 criminal charges filed against Surratt since 2010.

Prior to the 2010 home invasion, Surratt spent 15 months in federal prison for a 2004 robbery at the Wells Fargo bank in Coon Rapids and has convictions in Anoka County for felony theft (2001) and felony fifth-degree controlled substance crime (2004) as well as a misdemeanor theft conviction in 2000.

In Hennepin County he was convicted of felony sale of a simulated controlled substance in 2003 and of felony aiding and abetting the theft of over $500 in 2006.

In Ramsey County he was convicted of gross misdemeanor theft in 2000 and receiving stolen property in 2001.

He has convictions for lesser offenses in Minnesota dating back to 1999.

Two weeks prior to the Mille Lacs County incident, Surratt was arrested and charged with three counts of DWI in Ramsey County Court.