Elvis shakes, Belushi steals, cops confused
Richard Meryhew, Star Tribune
October 13, 2004
Robin Erkenbrack has followed up on some goofy calls in the 19 years he's been working a police beat for the city of Crystal. But nothing, the police sergeant said, comes close to the medical call he answered at the Crystal VFW on Monday night.
There on the sidewalk outside the club lay Elvis, flopping around in the midst of an apparent seizure. Speeding away in a car a few feet away was John Belushi, decked out in "Blues Brothers" sunglasses and headed straight for the runway of the nearby Crystal airport.
"Every time you think you've seen it all," Erkenbrack said, "there's something else."
Erkenbrack said he and another patrol officer raced to the VFW about 10:20 p.m. Monday to answer what they thought was a routine call about a man falling down some steps. When they arrived, Erkenbrack said, he found a man dressed like Elvis Presley, complete with pompadour and sideburns, sprawled on the ground.
Suddenly, Elvis "went into a huge convulsion," Erkenbrack said. "I mean, he was like a foot off the ground." And just as suddenly, the convulsions stopped, Elvis opened his eyes, shouted, "Viva Las Vegas!" and started singing Elvis tunes, Erkenbrack said.
"I had to like turn away," he added. "I was laughing. And I knew there was something goofy here."
At that point, a woman who had been bar hopping with Elvis and the Belushi look-alike approached Erkenbrack to tell him that "Belushi took my car" and was headed toward the Crystal airport next door.
Erkenbrack radioed for help. Minutes later, police spotted Belushi sitting in a car parked behind an airport hangar. When they approached, Belushi sped off, leading officers on a six-minute chase across runways and between hangars at speeds that reached 75 miles per hour.
"The whole time I'm chasing this guy, it's serious," Erkenbrack said. "But I had a little bit of a laugh, too. I mean, you just can't believe how goofy this is. This is right out of the movies."
The chase ended when police forced Belushi into a spinout. Belushi, still wearing sunglasses and spitting blood from biting his tongue, was taken from the car to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and later to the Hennepin County jail. The 47-year-old Minnetonka resident could face charges that include auto theft, fleeing police, trespassing and drunken driving. Elvis, meanwhile, was treated at the hospital and released. Crystal police Capt. Dave Oyaas said Elvis, 27, from Anoka, could be charged with disorderly conduct.
Sue Nabors, a VFW waitress who saw what happened, said the impersonators know each other and often sing at local lounges. She said Elvis "is a good Elvis singer" and Belushi "sings, too," but "not as often, and not as good."
Police said they aren't sure whether Elvis faked a seizure to allow Belushi to drive away in the woman's car or whether Belushi simply acted on his own.
"You look at this a little guarded," Oyaas said. "I think in this case, there was a little bit of alcohol involved. But I don't think there was any conspiracy or plot to steal this car."
Reading this in the morning paper completely made my day.
"We're on a mission from God."