Deputy seriously hurt following pursuit in Walworth County

SPRING PRAIRIE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Walworth County Sheriff's Office deputy was seriously injured after a police pursuit on Monday, Aug. 2. 

Officials say the pursuit began at 1:11 a.m. in Lake Geneva.

According to the Walworth County Sheriff's Office, a deputy attempted to stop a motor vehicle for going over 60 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone. Officials say the driver was showing signs of impairment. The driver proceeded to go over 100 miles per hour traveling north on Highway 120.

As the driver approached the intersection with Highway 11, both the headlights and taillights were turned off. The car failed to stop at a stop sign, continuing north on Highway 120.

Deputy Wayne Blanchard, a 20 year veteran of the Walworth County Sheriff's Office, with prior full time law enforcement experience and service in the United States Marine Corps, was on Highway 120 north of Kniep Road in the town of Spring Prairie. 

Officials say Deputy Blanchard, who took position behind a guardrail, prepared to deploy a tire deflation device in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle. As the vehicle approached, the driver began to lose control along the shoulder of the northbound traffic lane. The driver struck the guardrail causing injury to a passenger in his car, and to Deputy Blanchard.

The passenger of the suspect vehicle, a 31-year-old Racine man, was transported to a hospital and later released.

Deputy Blanchard was also transported to a hospital with serious injuries. 

The suspect driver, Tony Perales, 25, of Racine, was transported to a hospital and later confined in the Walworth County Jail.

According to officials, the following charges will be referred to the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office:

• Flee and Eluding

• Operating while intoxicated causing Great Bodily Harm

• Injury by intoxicated use of motor vehicle

• Operating without a Driver’s License causing Great Bodily Harm

"Early Sunday morning an alleged impaired driver traveling at a high rate of speed endangering the citizens of Walworth County was being pursued in an effort to save lives and stop this reckless driving. In the course of this incident, Deputy Blanchard put himself in harm's way to utilize a tire deflation device to stop this vehicle, and in doing so was struck," Sheriff Kurt Picknell stated. "Deputy Blanchard sustained severe injuries. This tragic incident is another reminder of courageous dedication by law enforcement to keep the community safe. I thank all of the first responders and medical staff for the professional care. The ongoing support from citizens is vital to the success of our public safety mission. Please keep Deputy Blanchard and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

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