Alleged driver in Mounds View squad car crash fails to appear in court


Ahmed Bahaa Abdelhafiz

A Coon Rapids man accused of hitting an occupied Mounds View Police Department squad car on July 7 failed to appear for his July 23 hearing and now has a warrant out for his arrest. 

Ahmed Bahaa Abdelhafiz, 28, was arrested and charged with felony auto theft and drug possession, as well as fleeing a peace officer, following a high-speed chase involving a stolen car that ended in a crash near Pinewood Elementary School in Mounds View.

Both Abdelhafiz and the officer he allegedly hit were transported to the hospital following the crash, according to Mounds View Chief of Police Nate Harder. Abdelhafiz suffered only minor injuries. The officer, Sgt. Benjamin Zender, was released that same night but recently underwent surgery for knee injuries sustained in the crash. 

In an email, Harder said he anticipates that Zender, “will be in the recovery process for an extended period of time.”

After an initial court appearance on July 9, Abdelhafiz posted bail and failed to return for his July 23 hearing. 

The night of the crash, a different officer initially encountered Abdelhafiz just before 6:30 p.m. According to court documents he was allegedly driving a black sedan with no license plates and going 56 mph in a 30 mph zone. 

The vehicle was later discovered to have been stolen from Kline Volvo in Maplewood. According to court documents, Abdelhafiz had allegedly taken the car for a test drive on the dealership’s lot on July 1, returned a false key and then used the real key to steal the car.

While attempting to flee from police, Abdelhafiz allegedly struck Zender’s marked Mounds View squad car as Zender was making a U-turn at Quincy Street and Oakwood Drive. Abdelhafiz then allegedly tried to run on foot, but was caught by the Mounds View police K-9 team, according to the release.

If convicted, Abdelhafiz could face to up to 15 years in prison. According to a spokesperson for Ramsey County, a warrant is out for his arrest but there are no additional charges at this time.

Said Harder, “We do go out and actively look for individuals with warrants, and it is a priority for us — the county has a warrant unit that also looks for warrants.”

Pending Abdelhafiz being taken back into custody, a second hearing scheduled for Aug. 19 has been canceled. 

 

–Bridget Kranz can be reached at bkranz@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

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