St. Paul man sentenced for punching Washington County deputy, fleeing in stolen car

A career criminal who punched a sheriff’s officer in the face before fleeing police in a stolen SUV has been given a sentence of almost four years in prison.

Nicholaos In relation to the September 2021 incident, which started in Stillwater and ended when he collided with another vehicle in downtown St. Paul, Michael Kremetis, 34, of St. Paul, was found guilty on Monday of theft of a motor vehicle and fourth-degree assault of a peace officer and given concurrent prison terms of 45 and 25 months.

In July, Kremetis entered a guilty plea to the charges. In accordance with a plea deal, Washington County District Judge Juanita Freeman dropped five more charges: having a dangerous weapon, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and eluding a peace officer.

According to court documents, Freeman diverged from the probable jail term and handed Kremetis an upward durational departure sentence of 45 months on the conviction for vehicle theft since, according to state law, Kremetis is considered a career criminal.

Kremetis’ criminal history includes five convictions for eluding police, four for burglary, two for narcotics possession, and three for fraud. These crimes date back to 2013.

The incident from the previous year began at 9:30 p.m. on September 27 in Stillwater’s 14800 block of North 62nd Street when Kremetis saw a deputy in an unmarked vehicle parked on the street. According to the criminal complaint, Kremetis was known to be at a house in the vicinity and was being watched. He was sought on many felony warrants.

According to reports, Kremetis drove passed Deputy Anthony Palmer—who wasn’t wearing a uniform—before making multiple looping turns. According to the lawsuit, he “then drove up close to where Deputy Palmer was parked… and screamed at Deputy Palmer, asking if he was alright.” When Deputy Palmer identified himself, Kremetis moved forward, then retreated and approached the deputy, asking him to exit his vehicle.

Palmer got out of his police car and radioed for assistance. Then Kremetis struck him on the chin with a blow to the face.

The lawsuit claims that Kremetis disobeyed instructions to get to the ground, escaped another officer, and fled in a stolen Chevrolet Suburban “at a high rate of speed.”

On Highways 96 and 95, through westbound Minnesota 36, past the East Side of St. Paul, and into downtown, police and deputies pursued Kremetis. At 10 p.m., Kremetis struck another car head-on at West Seventh and Wabasha streets.

The second car’s occupants, a mother and her daughter, were brought to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds.

410 shotgun rounds were discovered in the cargo compartment and under the driver’s seat of the stolen SUV; due to a past conviction, Kremetis is not allowed to own guns or ammo. According to the lawsuit, Kremitis’ driving privileges had been suspended when the Suburban was taken on September 23.

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