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North Dakota man who rammed police truck faces reduced charge

Harlan Enger

GRAND FORKS - A Northwood, N.D. man who was initially charged with terrorizing for ramming his Geo Metro into the police chief's four-wheel-drive squad car had his charges reduced.

Harlan Enger is now charged with felony endangerment, also a felony, during a court appearance Wednesday in Grand Forks.

Enger, 58, also was charged with drunken driving and simple assault in the incident Tuesday that led to his arrest.

He remains in the Grand Forks County jail under a total bond of $10,500, a jail spokeswoman said. His preliminary hearing was set for March 9.

Northwood Police Chief Keith Prosser said that as he attempted to stop Enger just before 2 p.m. Tuesday on the north side of town, Enger rammed his small car twice into Prosser's squad, then drove off into town. As Prosser followed, Enger swung around and headed right back at him. Deciding Enger needed to be stopped, Prosser didn't try to avoid the collision and instead tried to disable the car -- and did.

Enger got only bumps and bruises treated at the Northwood hospital before being transported to jail.

His family told the Herald they are concerned that he has mental health problems that aren't getting treated.

"I just wanted people to know the reason why my dad did this," said one of Enger's four children, Tara Wolfe. "So they don't think my dad is this bad person. He really is a good guy. He's just mentally ill right now."

They feel frustrated at being unable to get him long-term treatment, Wolfe said.

Her mother recently moved out of the Enger's home to live with Wolfe in Northwood because of Enger's recent problems, which include losing his job, Wolfe said.

On Sunday, they called police because Enger had been threatening to kill himself, Wolfe said. They tried to get a local physician to commit Enger into a treatment center but failed, Wolfe said.

On Tuesday, Enger came in to the grocery store where Wolfe works, brandishing a razor blade and threatening to kill himself, Wolfe said. That led to the police call that resulted in his arrest, she said.

In late 2006, Enger was charged with menacing in a Grand Forks court; he was convicted on the charge in early 2007 and sentenced to a year in jail with all but 30 days suspended. He also spent time in a treatment center in Crookston as part of that sentence, according to court records.

Her father has been on pain medication for years because of a back injury and recent changes in his prescription have affected his mental stability and behavior, Wolfe said.

She and her siblings signed affidavits asking the court to order Enger into an in-patient treatment program, "so he can get the help he needs," Wolfe said.

Wolfe said she's not sure why her father crashed into the police vehicle.

"He had been drinking because he had gotten those pills taken away from him. I don't know if he was just mentally insane at the time or if he just wanted to end his life."

She tried to talk to him in a squad vehicle after his arrest, but Enger didn't say much, she said.