Patrol says no known motive why attorney, MSUM instructor would run before fatal crash

A Fergus Falls City Council member and Minnesota State University Moorhead instructor is dead after a high speed chase from police in Otter Tail County on Monday evening.

A Fergus Falls City Council member and Minnesota State University Moorhead instructor is dead after a high speed chase from police in Otter Tail County on Monday evening.

Timothy Rundquist, 52, was killed after he struck an unoccupied squad car along the road. The 11-mile pursuit started on state Highway 54 just south of Elbow Lake about 5 p.m. and ended 11 miles later on U.S. Highway 59 north of Elbow Lake near Interstate 94.

The Minnesota State Patrol tried to pull Rundquist over for speeding before he fled.

The chase varied in speeds from 60 to 80 miles per hour.

Authorities from several agencies used stop sticks in an attempt to stop Rundquist, and while he did hit one set, he didn’t stop.


Just before he got to a second set of stop sticks, Rundquist struck an unoccupied Ashby police squad car head-on and was trapped in the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lt. Charles Backes with the State Patrol says authorities do not have a motive at this point as to why Rundquist would flee.

There was no alcohol found in the vehicle, according to Backes, but coroners will be assisting in the investigation to see if there were drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.

Backes says the roads at the time of the crash were wet but not icy.

Backes, who says officers did not know who their suspect was at the time of the chase, said he is confident law enforcement were in an ideal situation to continue the pursuit, as there were adequate officers assisting and very little traffic on the roads.

“This is a tragic event. This is not how we want any pursuit ever to end, but ultimately we had no control over the driver’s actions,” he said.

Ashby police, Fergus Falls police, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the chase.

Rundquist is listed on  MSUM's website  as a faculty member in the School of Business. He taught two classes in the first semester and had two scheduled for the second semester. 


A former Fergus Falls lawyer, he's also been a fill-in assistant county attorney for Stevens County, a position he’s held since June.

“It’s just a total shock,” said Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan, who says Rundquist was typically a very reserved, quiet guy with a dry sense of humor.

“He seemed very grounded. From what I could tell, he had a good family life and a lot to live for,” said Jordan, who says Rundquist had three young children.

“So for however much we, at the courthouse, are trying to wrap our heads around this and mourning his death, our hearts go out to his family so much more - especially this time of year.”

Elbow Lake is is about 25 miles south of Fergus Falls in western Minnesota and north of Steven County.

His  Fergus Falls City Council page  says he was a member of the Public Works and Safety Committee, Community Council, Legislative Committee and Otter Tail County Historical Society (ex-officio member).

Fergus Falls Mayor Hal Leland extended his sympathies to the Rundquist family, whom he visited Tuesday morning.

“I’m extremely saddened by that news and extend condolences to family and everyone who is definitely affected by this tragedy,” Leland told the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.


Friends and family were leaving messages of condolence on Rundquist’s Facebook page Tuesday morning.

Rundquist's city council term began Jan. 7, 2013, and was to end in January 2017, according to the site.

In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for a city council seat, losing by one vote after a recount requested by Rundquist.

Paula Quam joined InForum as its managing digital editor in 2019. She grew up in Glyndon, Minnesota, just outside of Fargo.
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