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RACINE COUNTY — A traffic stop last week for a burned-out registration lamp quickly turned into a high-speed chase into Milwaukee County and landed a 38-year-old Minocqua man in a world of trouble.

Joseph Zupan faces felony charges of attempting to flee or elude an officer, second-degree recklessly endangering safety and three charges of bail jumping, all as a repeat offender, along with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

If convicted of each of the felony charges, Zupan faces a maximum total prison term of 31 years, six months, and a total fine of $95,000.

The criminal complaint: burned-out light turns into high-speed chase

A Racine County Sheriff’s Department deputy on patrol near the 26000 block of Fries Lane in Wind Lake stopped the defendant’s vehicle for a registration lamp violation.

After the deputy made contact with Zupan, he learned the defendant was on parole, and that the vehicle was of interest in multiple burglary incidents. When deputies told Zupan to exit the vehicle, he reportedly put the car in gear and fled the scene, initiating a high-speed chase.

The chase reached speeds in excess of 100 mph and eventually continued into Milwaukee County, where Franklin Police joined the pursuit. Police stated that Zupan drove into oncoming traffic, and after 11.9 miles, Racine deputies terminated the chase, the complaint states.

After Zupan drove around stop sticks and onto the Milwaukee Area Technical College campus, Franklin police successfully executed a “PIT” (precision immobilization technique) maneuver and ended the chase, taking the defendant into custody.

Zupan apologized for “acting stupid,” and told police he was “going to prison for a long time.”

During a search of the vehicle, police found a digital scale, a crack pipe, a sandwich baggy with a substance that later tested positive for cocaine, chore boy, razor blades, and a screwdriver. Police also found 15 packs of cigarettes, 60 cigarillos, and 23 rolls of 50 pennies that were consistent with stolen property in other burglaries in the backseat.

Criminal court records show that Zupan had been free from custody on a $500 cash bond on a felony burglary charge as a party to a crime in Milwaukee County. He also has a 2016 conviction in Waukesha County for felony burglary and was sentenced to four years in prison and four years of extended supervision in that case.

After his arrest in the current case, Zupan’s parole was revoked, according to court records.

Zupan remained in custody in the Racine County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond and was due back in Racine County Circuit Court on Jan. 25, for a 9 a.m. preliminary hearing.

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