OAK CREEK -- Prosecutors said a Racine man led deputies on a high-speed pursuit through a construction zone on I-94 before crashing near the Drexel Avenue exit ramp in Oak Creek. He was apprehended by a K-9 officer, and prosecutors said marijuana and alcohol were found in a backpack in his possession.
Anthony Chambliss, 30, faces three felonies and four misdemeanors:
According to a criminal complaint, shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday, May 19, a deputy on patrol along I-94 northbound near County Highway G, monitoring traffic for speed violations, observed a green Chevrolet Trailblazer traveling "at an obvious high rate of speed." The complaint noted the speed limit in the area, a posted work zone, is 60 miles per hour. The deputy clocked the vehicle at 95 miles per hour.
The deputy prepared to initiate a traffic stop, and noticed the driver "slowed down dramatically." The complaint said the vehicle began to pull in behind the deputy's squad. Fearing this may be an ambush, the complaint said the deputy slammed on his brakes, which forced the driver to move to the left and around the squad.
The complaint said Chambliss took the exit ramp to County Highway G, increasing his speed as he approached the end of the ramp. As he approached the stop sign at the end of the ramp, the complaint said a semi pulling a 53-foot box trailer was headed east on County Highway G past the exit ramp for I-94, and Chambliss had to swerve around it after failing to stop for the stop sign. The complaint said Chambliss appeared to come within inches of striking the trailer.
He then entered the on-ramp to I-94 northbound.
Near 6 1/2 Mile Road, the deputy noted speeds of 100 miles per hour. The complaint said Chambliss suddenly decided to take the exit ramp to 7 Mile Road -- jerking his vehicle to the right -- taking the ramp so fast he struck a large construction barrel, lodging it under his vehicle, which slid sideways and Chambliss nearly lost control. The complaint said he sped down the exit ramp to 7 Mile Road, where a vehicle was stopped. Chambliss drove through the stop sign at approximately 80 miles per hour and went back onto the interstate.
The deputy observed Chambliss passing other vehicles at an excessive and dangerous speed at 7 1/2 Mile Road. A lieutenant advised the pursuit should be terminated at the 27th Street overpass. The pursuit lasted approximately three miles.
The complaint said the deputy exited at Ryan Road and observed numerous emergency vehicles with their lights activated. The deputy soon learned this was a separate crash that did not involve the green Chevy Trailblazer.
At Drexel Avenue in Oak Creek, the deputy observed several vehicles stopped, with people standing on the roadway -- frantically pointing to the north. The deputy realized the green Trailblazer crashed on the north side of Drexel in the northeast gully area between Drexel and the on-ramp to I-94. It appeared Chambliss took the exit ramp at a very high rate of speed and tried to make a right turn, but slid out of control.
"He came flying this way," said Josh Lindeen, eyewitness. "We were seconds away from my family getting wiped out."
Lindeen was driving with his wife and two daughters when he saw the speeding SUV fly across four lanes on Drexel before crashing and rolling several times.
"All of a sudden, there was a bug cloud of dirt, obviously from him hitting the median," said Lindeen.
Lindeen said his first thought was rescuing the occupants.
"Right away, my wife called 911 and we did a U-turn," said Lindeen. "He was climbing out of the passenger window and I'm like, 'Are you OK?' He's like, 'I'm OK. I'm OK,' and he starts going back to the back seat. I'm like, 'Oh, gosh. Is there a kid something back there?'
"He was out of his vehicle within 15 seconds of the crash and grabbed his backpack and ran," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.
A person believed to be Chambliss was found running from the vehicle with a black backpack. K-9 Friday was released and chased Chambliss. The K-9 was able to pull Chambliss to the ground and hold him until deputies got there.
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling
"Sprung right into action and chased down this individual who put the entire community in jeopardy," said Sheriff Schmaling.
"I just saw the dog going at it," said Lindeen.
The complaint said Chambliss was apprehended about seven minutes after the traffic stop was initiated.
According to the complaint, when deputies approached Chambliss, he had his hand under his body by his waistband and refused to comply with commands to take it out. The deputies had to forcefully remove his hand from his waistband to put it behind his back.
The complaint said deputies detected a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Chambliss. A search of his backpack revealed a baggie with green plant-like material inside which tested positive for THC -- with the marijuana weighing 3.2 grams. Another baggie contained numerous "roaches" and "reeked of burned marijuana." The bag of roaches weighed 4.1 grams. Deputies also recovered two grinders and an open, partially full bottle of brandy.
"You get angry because you think of all the people that could have gotten hurt from his stupidity," said Lindeen.
Chambliss was taken to the hospital, where the complaint said he failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for OWI, second offense. A blood draw was conducted.
He made his initial appearance in court on Monday, May 20. Probable cause was found for further proceedings, and cash bond was set at $2,500. A preliminary hearing was set for May 29.