Mental illness frees man accused of squad car theft, chase
Not guilty by reason of mental illness – that’s the decision of the court in the case of the Bemidji man who led police on a car chase after stealing two bottles of wine from a Detroit Lakes area liquor store, then the squad car of a responding sheriff’s deputy.
Ty Justin Andree, 24, had been charged with six felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from the incident in rural Becker County last March, in which he took authorities on a high speed chase before charging towards them with a stolen shotgun and stealing one of the squad cars, then taking them on a second chase.
Andree opted for a court trial, overseen by District Court Judge Jay Carlson.
Two independent licensed professionals concluded that Andree was “laboring under a defect of reason due to mental illness.”
One of them was psychiatric resident Gavin Meany, who issued a report stating Andree appeared to be struggling under an episode of acute psychotic disorder that included auditory hallucinations beginning around December, 2013 and continuing through the time of the March incident.
Psychologist Nancy Hein Kolo also submitted a report that indicated Andree had written nonsensical messages on the walls of his cabin before the incident, believed he had a chip in his head and that he was a prophet.
The report also stated that Andree said he heard voices that told him he was an angel and needed to kill himself to fight demons.
Andree stated he stole the two bottles of wine from the liquor store because he decided to get drunk, believing it was going to be his last day on Earth.
Regarding the moment when Andree got out of his vehicle with a shotgun and walked towards the deputies and their squad car, Andree also stated he did so because he “wanted the officers to kill him.”
In the complaint filed with the Becker County Courthouse, Andree shouted to the officers, “I’m gonna point this gun at you and shoot you! I’m gonna take your car! Just shoot me!”
The two deputies — one from Becker County and one from Hubbard County — did not fire on Andree, but rather took cover behind one of the squad cars. They did fire on the car as he drove away.
Andree was judicially committed to a mental health institution shortly after his arrest and is subject to commitment proceedings in the future but is currently undergoing what is referred to as “aftercare.”
That can range from an extended care facility to mental health care at home.