Mpls cops done with escorting pro teams

Welcome to the airport security line with we little people, NFL players!

KSTP reports that Minneapolis police are putting the brakes on their practice of escorting NFL team busses around town after an accident involving the bus of the visting Washington team on the way to Sunday’s game.

The station says it’s learned how the accident happened.

The accident happened just after 8 a.m on the Huron Blvd. exit ramp off Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.
According to a Minnesota State Patrol accident report, the MPD officer involved was Yolanda Wilks. According to that report, she was at the rear of the motorcade, and told police that “she was ordered to pass the motorcade and re-position in front of the first bus.” But she “used the grass median to pass,” and “she started to lose control of her vehicle as she crossed the grass median.” She told police she then “spun out of control and crashed into the guardrail.”

The first team bus braked, but the second rear-ended the first. Wilks was taken to the hospital with very minor injuries, and one Redskins player suffered a minor injury as well.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions, including how fast the officer was driving, whether she had her lights or sirens on at the time, and whether she will face any discipline. The accident report states she was in her marked squad car at the time.

Ending the practice could also eliminate the end-around of the airport security line that pro sports players enjoy. Because they’re screened before they board the bus, and because they get a police escort, ensuring that no terrorists jump on the bus somewhere along the route to the airport, professional athletes get to breeze through the airport.

The Star Tribune reported last year that the Vikings pay $300 for escorts from the team’s facility at Eden Prairie to the airport. Those escorts continue for the local squad.

The University of Minnesota sports teams get their escorts from university police. The NFL teams might still have the option of having the State Patrol escort them if Minneapolis police don’t want the job anymore.

  • Jeff

    Why do they need an escort?

    • The airport escort was explained above. For the escort to the game, given the demonstration the team nickname that was forming, it’s not and unwise precaution.

      • Jeff

        Sorry, guess I should have asked, “Why do they get to do the TSA screening before they get to the airport?” I agree it was wise to give Washington an escort to the game.

        • joetron2030

          I would guess it’s for expediency. They tend to fly chartered and probably on a tight schedule. The story in the Sunday STrib following the Gophers’ football team had a similar setup. TSA agents came to the U to do the pre-flight security checks and then rode in the same convoy to the airport with the team.

          They probably pay extra for the service but it’s also probably a cost of doing business that they find worth the expense.

  • joetron2030

    Glad I came by and saw this story. I heard about the bus accident on Monday morning when I was listening to Morning Edition. But, there hadn’t been any explanation of what happened.