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MOUNT PLEASANT, WI – A Racine man was charged with several felonies after he drove recklessly in a vehicle with three children and a passenger, then fled after crashing the car.

Joseph Balderas, 26, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with four counts of recklessly endangering safety. If convicted of all four charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison and/or fines up to $100,000.

Police responded to a call for a civil disturbance at 4:14 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 11 and Oakes Road. The person who called said her ex-boyfriend was driving recklessly with her children in the car, according to a press release by the Mount Pleasant Police Department.

“Balderas was driving and became angry that he bought (his girlfriend’s children’s) shoes, but not his own children.

Witness told police that Balderas drove the car in and out of traffic at speeds over 70 mph. Coming up on backed up traffic near Cozy Acres Road, Balderas swerved right to avoid striking the cars in front of him. The car left the roadway, went into a ditch and struck a bus stop sign. It then hit and damaged a culvert, then jumped a driveway in the 6600 block of Durand Avenue.

Balderas fled on foot and officers set up a perimeter. Running east and then north, a K-9 unit with the Sturtevant Police Department tracked down Balderas,  who was found hiding in the woods near the Stuart McBride Park.

Racine County Court Commissioner John Bjelajac set a cash bond of $50,000. A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Racine County Courthouse.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.