Blaine man identified as driver in fatal crash into home

The Anoka County Medical Examiner’s Office has released the name of the man who died June 29 after crashing into a Blaine home.

Matthew Joseph Gray, 31, a Blaine resident, was the driver involved in the accident that damaged a home the 10400 block of Terrace Road N.E., said Lt. Paul Lenzmeier with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

According to an Anoka County Sheriff’s Office news release, the man was found dead inside a white, four-door SUV after it crashed and cut the Blaine home’s natural gas line.

The incident began around 2:30 a.m. June 29 when Blaine police officers received a 911 call from the area of 107th Avenue and President Drive N.E.

A woman reported seeing a man looking through cars in the neighborhood.

The news release stated the 911 caller told dispatchers she saw a man getting into the white SUV and drive away from the area.

When police officers arrived in the area of 109th Avenue and Terrace Road N.E., they saw a vehicle matching the one described by the woman. When a patrol officer turned on the vehicle to investigate, the SUV sped away abruptly.

The Blaine police officer lost sight of the SUV as it sped away to the south on Terrace Road and 109th, but saw a cloud of dust and smoke ahead and discovered the SUV had left the street and crashed into the two-story home.

Two people sleeping upstairs were awakened by the crash and were able to escape the home without injury, the news release stated.

Crews from the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department (SBM) had a tow truck pull the SUV out of the home after the natural gas was shut off and the leak secured.

“Originally, I thought he [the driver] had severed the gas meter from the feed line into the home, but it broke after the shutoff,” said Garrett Parten, chief operations officer, one of the first emergency responders to arrive at the scene.

“I had a gas meter with me, I was able to monitor the gas. We were able to do patient care immediately, but we could not get the man out initially because the vehicle pinned inside the house. The vehicle tore off the front side of the house, so we had a structural collapse concern.”

The driver’s death remains under investigation by the Blaine Police Department, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and the Anoka County Medical Examiner’s Office, the news release stated.

“We had a suspicious call and went into the area,” said Capt. Kerry Fenner with the Blaine Police Department Friday morning.

“The driver saw us and took off. We did pursue him, but he took off long before we initiated anything. The officer was so far behind the vehicle he didn’t see or hear the crash.”

According to Lenzmeier, the Anoka County Sheriff Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is still processing the SUV for additional evidence.

“We are trying to determine what the cause of the accident was, and why the driver was driving that fast,” he said. “Anytime we have a death like this, we thoroughly check the vehicle.”

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]

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