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Alleged drunk driver takes Moorhead cop for ride when foot slips off brake

MOORHEAD - A police officer had to steer a stolen van into a boulevard tree early today when its driver, who police say was passed out behind the wheel of the running vehicle, began to wake up and his foot slipped off the brake pedal.

Police received a call at 1:55 a.m. about a parked vehicle playing loud music and facing the wrong way on Moorhead's 16th Avenue South at 14th Street.

Officers found the driver passed out behind the wheel and had to use a "slim jim" device to open the locked door, Lt. Tory Jacobson said.

Initially, officers were unable to wake the driver. As he began to wake up, his foot slipped off the brake and the 2005 Chrysler Town & Country van, which was still in gear, began to move forward, Jacobson said.

The officer was able to turn the steering wheel, directing the van into a boulevard tree at a low speed, he said.

The van was reported stolen from Minneapolis on Thursday, Jacobson said.

Odell Rankin, 53, of Minneapolis, was arrested on suspicion of felon in possession of a stolen vehicle and DWI.