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Chippewa Falls woman arrested for starting garage on fire, leading officers on chase

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Eau Claire (WQOW) – A Chippewa Falls woman was arrested, but not before leading police on a chase, locking herself in a garage and starting it on fire.

It all happened on May 8, according to police.

Barbara Link, 49, is charged with fleeing an officer, burglary, arson, criminal damage to property, obstructing an officer and bail jumping.

According to the criminal complaint, Link walked into a senior living facility in Eau Claire, pulled a fire alarm and left the building.

A short time later she called 911 saying she was out of breath and hung up the phone.

Police say they were able to track her down and said she was behaving paranoid and excited. They asked her to shut off her vehicle but she would not.

They say without any notice she drove away from police.

That led to a car chase on several roads and through yards and parking lots.

Police say eventually Link pulled into someone’s driveway on N. Town Hall Road. When police got there, her car was running but nobody was inside of it.

Officers said they heard a horn go off, looked into the garage and saw Link sitting in a milk truck.

They said the garage door was locked so they tried to kick it open – to no avail.

Then, the door opened and police saw a fire on the floor. The fire was big enough an officer had to jump out of the way to avoid the flames.

Link had to be tased by two officers before being given a sedative by EMS staff to settle her down.

Fire officials said there was a purse lit on fire near the garage door. They found Link’s belongings in the purse.

If convicted on all the charges, Link faces more than 63 years in prison.