Princeton man steals car with 5 kids inside

Suspect was released from jail hours prior to incident on Christmas Eve

Samuel A. McFarlane
Samuel A. McFarlane

MINNEAPOLIS – Samuel A. McFarlane had been released from the Hennepin County Detention Center for just a few hours on Christmas Eve day when he decided to stay in downtown Minneapolis to find some heroin.
He didn’t find any drugs, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court, but he did find his way back to jail after allegedly stealing a car, kidnapping five children and leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase that ended in Rogers with several smashed squad cars in his path.
McFarlane, 28, of rural Princeton, told authorities he was heading back to Princeton in the stolen car and was considering killing himself during the chase, the complaint states.
At about 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, McFarlane was released from the detention center where he was being held on Metro Transit charges of receiving or concealing stolen property. He was booked back into the detention center at 8:23 p.m. Christmas Eve after his arrest in Rogers.
According to the criminal complaint: McFarlane was at a downtown Minneapolis gas station where he alleged his cellphone was stolen. A car with eight passengers (three adults and five children) pulled into the gas station, where one of the occupants was being dropped off for work. All three of the adults went into the store while the car was left idling in the lot. The five children, ages 1-13, remained in the car. McFarlane later told investigators that he believed the person who stole his phone was in the vehicle. McFarlane asked one of the children for his phone. When told by the child that she didn’t have the phone, McFarlane allegedly pulled a gun on the child and pointed it at her face, the complaint states.
That’s when McFarlane allegedly drove off with the children in tow. He drove about a block before letting the children out of the vehicle, McFarlane told investigators. When stopping to let the children go, McFarlane allegedly pushed one child out of the car. The child fell and hit her head on the ground. The car ran over the girl’s leg as McFarlane was leaving the scene, the complaint states. (Her leg was later put in a cast.) McFarlane fled the scene and the children walked the block back to the gas station.
McFarlane was on his way to Princeton in the stolen car when he saw police lights behind him, he told investigators. He sped up in an attempt to get away, the complaint states.
Police officers in Maple Grove reported seeing McFarlane driving erratically. A trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol located McFarlane and commenced a pursuit, but McFarlane fled. As the chase continued from Maple Grove to Rogers, McFarlane allegedly “rammed” several police squad cars. At Rogers, McFarlane ran the stolen vehicle off the road and once again “rammed” into several squad cars, the complaint states.
When asked by investigators about hitting the squad cars, McFarlane stated that he was struck first and then threw the vehicle into reverse and hit them back.
By the time McFarlane was apprehended, he had struck a building, rammed multiple police vehicles and was involved in a hit-and-run collision, the complaint states. McFarlane was driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph while fleeing law enforcement.
McFarlane has been charged with three felonies in Hennepin County District Court: kidnapping to facilitate felony or flight, first-degree aggravated robbery, and criminal vehicular operation causing bodily harm. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if convicted.
He is being held in the Hennepin County Detention Center on $300,000 bond.