WPD conducting review of crash, chaseA Hudson man has been charged by the St. Croix attorney’s office for his role in a high-speed chase along I-94 that led to the crash of a Woodbury patrol car and a Wisconsin state trooper’s vehicle Feb. 9.
By: Hank Long, Woodbury Bulletin
A Hudson man has been charged by the St. Croix attorney’s office for his role in a high-speed chase along I-94 that led to the crash of a Woodbury patrol car and a Wisconsin state trooper’s vehicle Feb. 9.
Jared Gene Boucher, 29, faces felony charges of fleeing police, drunk driving and driving with a suspended license.
Meanwhile, the Woodbury Public Safety Department is conducting an internal review of the incident in which one of its patrol vehicles was totaled. No one was seriously injured.
The St. Croix County (Wis.) sheriff's office said a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria driven by Woodbury police officer Jeff Grot, 47, was chasing a 2000 Dodge Durango down I-94 into Wisconsin at about 2:43 a.m. Feb. 9.
The Durango, driven by Jared G. Boucher, 29, Hudson, swerved around two stop sticks in the Hudson area, a county sheriff’s report stated
The pursuit continued with Wisconsin State Trooper Curtis Tomkowiak, 22, leading in a 2007 Ford Crown Victoria.
The sheriff's report said speed reached 80 mph. The Durango ran over a set of stop sticks about nine miles east of Hudson that deflated the two front tires. Boucher stopped at the 10.5-mile mark and blocked both lanes of traffic.
The Wisconsin trooper's car stopped behind and to the left of the Durango. Two St. Croix County squad cars assisting in the endeavor stopped behind and to the right of Boucher.
The Woodbury squad care was unable to stop and struck the state patrol vehicle in the rear, causing the trooper's car to spin around and strike the driver's side of the Durango.
Boucher was taken to Hudson Hospital with minor injuries, treated, released and booked into jail on various charges.
Tomkowiak and Grot were treated for minor injuries and released. Both squad cars were extensively damaged while the Durango suffered moderate damage, sheriff’s department officials said.
Boucher was driving with a suspended license related to prior offenses. Sheriff’s department officials said the charges related to the incident represent Boucher’s fourth related driving offense. Wisconsin state records indicate he was found guilty of driving under the influence in 2002. In 2007 and 2004 he was found guilty of marijuana possession.
Second totaled squad in a month
The incident was the second time in the last month that a Woodbury patrol vehicle was damaged in a high-speed chase.
On Jan. 21 a driver fleeing police crashed his car into a Woodbury police SUV that was parked on the shoulder of the freeway on I-494 near Tamarack Road.
In the most recent incident, Woodbury Police Capt. Steve Wills said the department is conducting a standard internal review policy, which will attempt to determine with the actions taken in the pursuit followed department policy.
Wills said the department’s policy does allow for patrol officers in pursuit of a fleeing vehicle to cross jurisdictional boundary if necessary.
“If someone makes a state line during a pursuit, we’re not just going to say ‘Oh, he made the state line, and goodbye,’” Wills said.
One of the difficulties posed for patrol officers conducting a pursuit of a vehicle out of their jurisdiction involves communication between squad cars from different departments. Washington County will soon be on the 800 megahertz radio system, which will allow it to communicate on the same channel as all emergency vehicles. But currently, in order to communicate with vehicles from other departments, a dispatcher must perform what is called a crosspatch.
Wills said the crosspatch allows officers from different departments to communicate during a pursuit, but usually takes time to set up
“Sometimes there is lag time involved in getting it done,” Wills said.
It’s not yet known whether communication difficulties may have led to the squad vehicles crashing, Wills said.
The Hudson Star Observe contributed to this report.