Janesville pursuit goes round and round

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

JANESVILLE—Roundabouts have bothered and befuddled some drivers, but among their advantages is that they slow traffic.

Case in point: a police chase on a roundabout on Racine Street at Interstate 90/39 in Janesville early Sunday morning.

The officer reported he saw a pickup truck going the wrong way on the roundabout shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday.

The officer turned on his flashers, but the truck didn't stop.

He turned on his siren. The 1988 Ford F-150 kept going.

The truck, with the squad car in low-speed pursuit, did 10 to 11 laps in the wrong direction, said Janesville police Lt. Terry Sheridan, relating the events from a report.

At least one motorist waited at the yield sign while the chase proceeded.

Another officer arrived, deployed spike strips, which deflated the truck's tires.

Dean R. Smith, 50, of 122 Donna Ave. Darien, was arrested on charges of operating while intoxicated and fleeing an officer.

“I think the guy was having a good laugh, but it's probably going to cost him in the end,” Sheridan said.

This particular roundabout is one of two that handle the Interstate's on- and off-ramps as well as traffic that continues over the Interstate on Racine Street.

Roundabouts were new for many local drivers, so as they were completed last November, the state Department of Transportation gave presentations to employees at nearby St. Mary's Janesville Hospital, Dean Clinic and Blain Supply and to students at Craig High School.

Roundabout safety information was made available at other nearby businesses, such as the Baymont Hotel and Denny's Restaurant.

“There is a learning curve with roundabouts,” an official told a Gazette reporter at the time, probably not intending any play on words.



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