01STOCK_POLICE_GENERIC_2

TOWN OF SPRING PRAIRIE

A Walworth County sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured Sunday as he tried to stop a speeding motorist, the sheriff’s office reported.

Deputy Wayne Blanchard was getting ready to deploy stop sticks on Highway 120 in the town of Spring Prairie in the early-morning hours when he was injured.

The speeding vehicle hit a guardrail, injuring both Blanchard and a passenger in the vehicle, according to a news release.

Another deputy had tried to stop the vehicle for speeding—62 mph in a 25 mph zone—in Lake Geneva around 1:11 a.m. Sunday, according to a news release.

Undersheriff Dave Gerber said deputies followed the vehicle in an attempt to stop it.

“The vehicle’s driver exhibited signs of impairment … presenting a danger to the community,” the release states.

The vehicle increased speed to more than 100 mph while headed north on Highway 120. As it approached the intersection with Highway 11, its headlights and taillights were turned off, and it failed to stop at a stop sign, according to the release.

Blanchard, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s office and a Marine Corps veteran, was monitoring radio transmissions on Highway 120 north of Kniep Road in the town of Spring Prairie and prepared to deploy the stop sticks while standing behind a guardrail when the crash happened, according to the release.

Blanchard was hospitalized. Gerber had heard nothing new on his condition Monday afternoon.

The passenger, a 31-year-old man from Racine, was treated and released at a hospital.

The suspected speeding driver, Tony Perales, 25, of Racine, was treated at a hospital and held at the Walworth County Jail.

Perales was arrested on charges of fleeing, intoxicated driving causing great bodily harm, injury by intoxicated driving and driving without a license causing great bodily harm.

Sheriff Kurt Picknell stated in the news release that Blanchard placed himself in harm’s way in an effort to save lives and stop reckless driving and sustained severe injuries.

“This tragic incident is another reminder of courageous dedication by law enforcement to keep the community safe,” Picknell said. “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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