Traffic Stop Results in High Speed Pursuit
TOWNSHIP OF MERRILL, WI (OnFocus) – The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday evening at approximately 10:05 p.m. initiated a traffic stop that led to an officer becoming incapacitated by the driver of the vehicle during that stop. This led to a high speed pursuit.
Press Release from Lincoln County Sherriff’s Department
On Thursday, 10/28/2021 at approximately 10:05 p.m. a Deputy with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle in the Tomahawk area after discovering that the license plates did not match the vehicle and the registered owner had a revoked driving status. After the Deputy activated his emergency lights to initiate the stop, the driver of the vehicle pulled into Crossroads BP at the intersection of STH 86 and US Hwy 51.
During the stop, the driver of the suspect vehicle falsely identified himself as someone else. As the Deputy was investigating, the suspect sprayed the Deputy in the face and incapacitated him with an unknown aerosol substance, believed to either be bear spray or a highly concentrated pepper spray. The driver then fled the scene of the traffic stop southbound on US Hwy 51. Tomahawk EMS responded to that location to treat the incapacitated Deputy.
A backup Deputy pursued the suspect southbound on US Hwy 51 at speeds in excess of 95 mph until 3 other Deputies were each able to deploy tire deflation devices in an attempt to disable the fleeing vehicle. The suspect continued to flee at speeds over 70 mph even after all 4 tires had been deflated. The vehicle turned westbound on Lincoln Drive and proceeded to the dead end, east of CTH JJ in the Township of Merrill, before it became disabled in the yard of a private residence.
When the four pursuing Deputies attempted to take the suspect into custody, the suspect sprayed one of those Deputies in the face and incapacitated him as well. The three remaining Deputies were able to take the suspect into custody just as the vehicle he’d been driving started on fire and became fully engulfed in flames. Merrill Fire Department personnel responded to and extinguished the fire. Merrill EMS responded to treat the second incapacitated Deputy.
The suspect, a 54-year-old male from LaCrosse, WI, was booked into the Lincoln County Jail on 2 felony counts of Battery to a Law Enforcement Officer, 1 felony count of Resisting Arrest, 1 felony count of Fleeing a Law Enforcement Officer, and 1 felony count of Misappropriation of Identification. Additional charges are possible pending further investigation. The driver was also issued several traffic citations.
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