A Sturtevant man faces multiple charges after a series of high-speed chases through Racine County in an SUV, court documents show.
Marquis Thomas, 21, faces one count of disorderly conduct, two counts of attempting to flee or elude an officer, three counts of obstructing an officer, and two counts of second degree recklessly endangering safety following a series of incidents in the early morning hours of April 20, according to a criminal complaint filed May 5 in Racine County circuit court.
Mount Pleasant police were called to the parking lot of the Oakes Road Walmart Supercenter at about 3:18 a.m. in response to a black Chevy Tahoe that had repeatedly circled the Walmart parking lot.
On arrival, an officer spotted a man parked between the Walmart and the nearby Wendy’s restaurant. When a responding officer exited his patrol car, the driver of the Tahoe looked at the officer, then put the Tahoe in drive and sped off onto Durand Avenue, according to the complaint.
The Tahoe fled east on Durand Avenue through the Highway 31 intersection. Officers initiated a chase through local streets and parking lots of local businesses reaching 84 miles per hour, police wrote.
The Mount Pleasant officer ended pursuit at the intersection of Lathrop Avenue and 21st Street but followed the vehicle’s trail to see if a wreck occurred.
However, a short time after Mount Pleasant police broke off pursuit, Racine County Sheriff’s Sgt. Troy Ruffalo spotted the Tahoe at the intersection of Highway 31 and Byrd Avenue, and followed the vehicle north of Highway 31, then attempted a traffic stop. The Tahoe initially stopped near the intersection with Village Center Drive but sped off again, according to the complaint.
Law enforcement officials followed, with pursuit speeds eventually reaching 93 miles per hour as the vehicle drove West on Washington Avenue.
Spike strips didn’t stop the high-speed chases
Officers attempted to deploy spike strips twice during the pursuits: they tried and failed to get the strips in place near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Carrington Drive, and the Tahoe drove around spikes successfully deployed at Washington Avenue and East Frontage Road.
According to the complaint, the Tahoe eventually drove north on Interstate 41, where it returned to freeway speeds. Officers tracked the Tahoe as far as the Racine-Milwaukee county line, according to the complaint.
The Tahoe’s license plate was used to contact the owners, who told Sturtevant police that Thomas was driving and possibly experiencing a mental health crisis.
Thomas faced an initial appearance on May 25 but failed to show, according to Wisconsin Circuit Court records. Circuit Court Wynne Laufenberg issued a warrant for his arrest, which was quashed following a subsequent Zoom appearance on June 7.
Thomas faces up to 90 days in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine if convicted of the disorderly conduct charge. The elusion charges carry a sentence of three years, six months, and a maximum fine of $10,000. The reckless endangerment charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and maximum fines of up to $25,000 on conviction. The obstruction charges carry a nine-month prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000 on conviction.
Thomas is under house arrest with GPS monitoring on a $1,000 cash bond, court records show. An initial appearance is scheduled for June 17 at 8:30 a.m., according to court documents.