Wayzata Woman Spots Man With Axe In Her Yard, Police Chase And Crash Follow

WCCO MINNEAPOLIS — A police pursuit ended in a crash that closed a stretch of road in Wayzata Thursday morning.

The chase ended at Gleason Lake Road just north of Highway 12 with one officer suffering minor injuries. But how the chase began is a scary story in itself.

It was just after 6 a.m. when Joan Learned peaked out an upstairs window in her home on Barry Street and spotted a suspicious white vehicle.

“I saw a cargo van parked in my driveway,” Learned said.

She says she watched the man inside the van for a few minutes.

“As I was watching, all of a sudden he got out of his car … went to the back of the cargo, opened it up, took out an axe, walked across my front yard here along the side and dropped the axe in my back yard,” she said.

Learned says she looked out her windows to try to see what the stranger was doing, and decided she had to shed some light on what was happening.

“I think, ‘Maybe I should switch my lights on in the kitchen and the dining room which face the back way and call 911,'” Learned said.

That light sent the man, Wayne Steven Snyder, back to his van.

“As I was talking to 911 … he started backing out slowly,” she said.

Learned took a picture that helped lead police to Snyder as he drove down Wayzata Boulevard. Snyder rammed his vehicle into two police cars and the car of an innocent female driver, who was not injured.

“At the end [he] drove his vehicle in what appears to be an intentional act of driving into the driver’s door of one of our squad cars,” Wayzata Police Chief Mike Risvold said.

Snyder is now in custody. Investigators returned to Learned’s house where they found several things he left behind, including an axe and a machete.

Learned says she cannot figure out why he chose her yard to do whatever it was he was doing.

Snyder is being held without bail and faces assault charges. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s office is helping with the investigation.

Four vehicles were damaged in total. Wayzata police are scrambling to replace two of the department’s police cars that were damaged.