David Wangerin

A fleeing vehicle and a trailing Chetek police squad hit spike strips and a suspected drunk driver was arrested after a high-speed chase on Hwy. 53 on Saturday evening, Oct. 5.

Court records said $5,000 in cash and a loaded .32 Magnum revolver were also found in the vehicle.

The defendant was identified as as David W. Wangerin, 43, of Superior. Court records said Wangerin spent the weekend in jail but was freed Monday, Oct. 7, on $1,000 cash bond pending a postponed initial appearance on Friday, Nov. 8.

The chase involved the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, along with police officers from Chetek and Cameron.

According to the complaint, the incident began shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in Chetek, when a city officer was parked along CTH SS and saw a car go by him. One of the car’s taillights wasn’t working. The officer followed the car west on CTH I, toward the Hwy. 53 interchange.

Even though the officer put on his emergency lights, the suspect vehicle didn’t stop. Once it got on the northbound on-ramp, the car quickly accelerated to an estimated 96 mph. The Chetek officer alerted dispatchers he was chasing the fleeing car.

A Cameron officer radioed that he would set “stop sticks” near the interchange of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 53. A sheriff’s deputy set additional spikes on the freeway near mile marker no. 135.

Meanwhile, the Chetek officer continued the chase at speeds estimated between 95 and 100 mph. He saw the suspect vehicle hit the first set of spikes, but it kept going until it hit the second set. The Chetek squad car, closing in on the vehicle, also hit the second set of spikes.

At that point, both of the suspect car’s front tires went flat, and a sheriff’s deputy apprehended the driver, later identified as the defendant.

Wangerin’s vehicle was towed to the Chetek Police Department. The squad was towed to a shop for repairs.

In a search incident to arrest, a plastic bag was found on the front seat of the suspect vehicle. It contained $5,000 in cash. Later, police found a loaded .32 Magnum revolver in the trunk of the suspect car.

The complaint said the defendant failed a field sobriety test, and a preliminary breath test produced a reading of 0.115, as compared to the state’s legal limit of intoxication, 0.08.

Records show Wangerin had two prior drunk driving convictions in 2008 and 2018, and his driver’s license had been revoked in February 2018.

The complaint charges the defendant with fleeing and eluding an officer, punishable by up to three and one-half years in prison, and drunk driving, third offense, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail.

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