Police piece together traffic stop turned chase - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Police piece together traffic stop turned chase

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Eau Claire Police are piecing together a serious investigation that started out as a regular traffic stop. It turned into a chase with shots fired.

WQOW News 18 spoke with the Eau Claire Police Department Wednesday, about what happened Tuesday night.  It was a scary chain of events for officers, thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.

Kyle Roder, the Community Relations Officer for the Eau Claire Police Department, says, "Somebody who does have repeat offenses in something, it does get frustrating for law enforcement." 

Scott Belisle, from Two Harbors, Minnesota was arrested Tuesday night for his 11th OWI. It all started after an Eau Claire police officer pulled him over for a broken headlight.

"Another officer arrived to assist him, ultimately as part of the initial investigation into the stop officers attempted to arrest the driver of the vehicle," says Roder.  

Police say Belisle became combative during the effort to arrest him. "The driver put the vehicle into drive and accelerated rapidly which caused both officers to be caught up in the vehicle and dragged."

After one officer was able to free himself, "One of our officers did discharge his firearm in attempt to stop the individual from causing harm to himself and the other officer as well as the public," explains Roder. "Police face serious situations that are rapidly moving and dynamic. And officers have to act appropriately is split seconds to make sure that they protect the community and they protect themselves."

After both officers were free, the man led them on a chase that ended on South Prairie View Road in Lake Hallie.

"When we have an individual who is willing to be combative with  law enforcement officers, who have weapons and who have the training, I think that puts our public in danger as well because that person, willing to fight with an officer, is also willing to do other things and other acts of violence."

Law enforcement says Belisle fled on foot and was found in a wooded area. He is currently in the Chippewa County Jail on a $5,000 dollar bond.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating because shots were fired by an officer.  Police weren't sure when that investigation would be finished.

State lawmakers have introduced a half-dozen bills aimed at strengthening OWI laws.  Among the proposals, making all first offenses, with a blood alcohol content of .15 or above a crime.  As well as adding a minimum sentence for convicted drunk drivers who injure or kill someone.  Local lawmaker Tom Larson is a co-sponsor on those bills.  Wednesday he talked about the chase.

He said, "Eleven of them.....that's crazy.  Once or twice, maybe but even that's not okay.  We have to get to a point where if you are just ignoring the law, we have to do something about it."

Those bills have been introduced, and assigned to a committee.

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