Wanted man totals four cars on University Avenue

Driving a minivan, the man hit four and missed one car sitting at a stoplight.

A man wanted by police crashed a minivan into a line of five cars last week while they waited at a stop light on University Avenue SE and Oak Street SE. Four cars, including the van, were unable to drive away from the scene March 12. An ambulance treated one person on site for lower back pain, the police report stated. No one was seriously injured. The 34-year-old driver, Michael Lavelle Johnson âÄî who was wanted for violating his parole âÄî smashed the back right bumper of the last car in the line. He then accelerated to swerve around the second car and hit the last three before the 1997 Dodge Caravan registered to his girlfriendâÄôs father came to a halt, the report stated. He also flattened a traffic sign on the sidewalk when he swerved, according to the report. âÄúIt didnâÄôt look like he was going to stop,âÄù said David Mayer, a witness to the accident. âÄúHe just kept hitting cars.âÄù Police issued a warrant for Johnson in December for leaving his mandatory 180 Degrees halfway house program, Dianne Binns, JohnsonâÄôs parole officer from Hennepin County, said. The program was part of JohnsonâÄôs supervised release from a 2008 prison sentence. The sentence was issued for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle âÄî one of 18 offenses on his public record since 1997. It is possible the man accelerated after hitting the first vehicle because he was attempting to flee the scene, University of Minnesota police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said. âÄúOne theory is he realized he wanted to get out of there, didnâÄôt want police to come, and he decided to barrage his way out of the accident,âÄù Miner said. The construction crew working on the road broke the vanâÄôs driver side window to attend to Johnson, who they said appeared unresponsive after the accident, according to the report. University police officers did not conduct a field sobriety test with Johnson because they did not detect any signs of intoxication, Miner said. Johnson is facing charges for driving after license cancellation, having no proof of insurance and providing a false name to police. He was charged with driving after cancellation and providing false information four times before this arrest, court records show. Johnson will be held in Hennepin County Jail until March 24 when Minnesota Department of Corrections hearing officers will decide if he will be sent back to prison, Binns said. âÄúI will make a recommendation based on his progress,âÄù Binns said, âÄúwhich was not good âĦ I think he should be back in prison.âÄù Shawn Gaither, whose 1998 Toyota Camry was totaled after JohnsonâÄôs van pushed it into a cement embankment separating the left lane from the construction site, said he thinks it was lucky nobody was seriously injured. âÄúIt was jarring to say the least,âÄù Gaither said. âÄúIâÄôm very surprised nobody was injured.âÄù