Rhonda Arkley sets house on fire with husband inside, stabs herself with screwdriver

Rhonda Arkley from a 2005 domestic assault arrest.

Rhonda Arkley from a 2005 domestic assault arrest.

As Apple Valley police sped up to Rhonda Arkley's house this morning, flames leaped out of the back. Her husband was still inside.

Arkley, meanwhile, was sitting in her car out front, stabbing herself with a screwdriver.

When officers tried to approach, however, she proved she still had her strength, and lead them on a high speed chase.


Earlier that morning, a neighbor called the police to say the 49 year old was pouring gasoline inside her home and threatening to kill herself. While her husband Stuart was still inside, Arkley set the home ablaze, burning herself in the process, and locked herself in her car out front. Stuart Arkley was caught in the flames, but managed to escape and run to the neighbor's.

As two police officers approached, they saw Arkley stabbing herself in the chest with a screwdriver. When a second police car arrived, she took off at full speed. Police chased her to Eagan, radioing the local police department for help. Predicting her path, Eagan officers laid strips of three-inch spikes down in the road. Arkley hit them and the car stopped dead.

As cops ran up to her car, Arkley beat the screwdriver into her chest with a hammer. Police got her out of the car and called an ambulance.

She and her husband are still being treated at Regions Hospital.

Police just recently visited the Arkley household -- on November 17, her 22-year-old son was found dead in his bedroom. Apple Valley Chief Scott Johnson says there were no signs of trauma, but that the case is still under investigation.

View Larger Map The Arkley household.