Driver in high-speed chase faces 5th OWI

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Pursuit reached speeds of 100 mph
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Bond was set at $20,000 cash for a Little Suamico man who led police officers on a high-speed chase that reached speeds of 100 mph on June 23.

Todd M. Frank, 53, is charged in Oconto County Circuit Court with fleeing an officer and what would be his fifth conviction of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, as well as a misdemeanor charge of driving with a revoked license.

According to the criminal complaint, Lena Police Officer David Vander Bloomen was operating radar from the northbound on-ramp of U.S. 141 when a black Chevy pickup truck sped past his parked patrol car onto the highway and was clocked at 80 mph.

Vander Bloomen pursued the truck with his emergency lights on, and then his siren, before the vehicle finally pulled onto the shoulder about 1.3 miles up the highway at Old 141 Road. The truck weaved in and out of the lanes during the pursuit, the complaint indicated.

The driver said he didn’t have his license with him but identified himself verbally as Frank, and the officer went back to his car to radio the information to the dispatch center.

While waiting for the dispatcher to look up Frank’s record and relay the information, Vander Bloomen heard the truck’s engine start and the vehicle sped away, the complaint said.

The truck started to turn west onto Sunnybrook Road but instead headed south on 141, and as Vander Bloomen followed, the dispatcher radioed back to say Frank had four prior convictions for OWI.

Over the next few minutes and 10.9 miles, the chase was joined by Oconto County sheriff’s deputies Kevin Christensen and Nick School, with speeds ranging from 40 mph — when the truck was almost boxed in by two squad cars — to 85 mph.

The truck turned off the four-lane highway onto Duame Road and accelerated, blowing through the stop sign at state Highway 22 at 100 mph. A few seconds later, the vehicle crashed at a railroad crossing.

The officers took Frank into custody and, after a stop for an examination and blood draw at St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls, transported him to the Oconto County Jail.

Results of the blood test were pending when the criminal complaint was filed June 26, but a preliminary breath test at the jail indicated a blood-alcohol content of .12 percent, or one and a half times the legal limit, the complaint said.

Judge Michael T. Judge set the bond with the conditions that, if bond is posted, Frank must maintain absolute sobriety and not drive. He scheduled the remainder of Frank’s initial appearance for July 13.