A 26-year-old Indiana man eluded authorities in a stolen vehicle for more than an hour and though several Wisconsin counties including Sauk and Columbia, traveling as fast as 124 mph and passing vehicles on the right shoulder, authorities say.
Joseph Jamel Smith, Hammond, Indiana, faces up to three years and six months in prison for the felony offense.
According to the criminal complaint, a Wisconsin State Trooper tried to stop the stolen Jeep SUV for speeding at 6:48 p.m. Oct. 22 in Monroe County on Interstate 90/94. The trooper terminated his pursuit when Smith, traveling east, began passing vehicles on the right shoulder. New Lisbon Police Department officers and Juneau County Sheriff’s deputies also pursued the vehicle for a while and a trooper eventually — and successfully — deployed a tire deflation device in Juneau County.
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At 7:20 p.m., authorities located the Jeep without a passenger side front tire and traveling at 70 mph, driving only on the rim, the complaint states. By 7:30 p.m., the driver had reached the town of Caledonia in Columbia County, where a trooper re-initiated his pursuit of the Jeep. Smith then increased his speed to as fast as 90 mph and used three lanes to pass multiple vehicles.
A Dane County Sheriff’s deputy located Smith traveling south on the interstate near the border of Dane and Columbia counties, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph and with a spray of sparks coming from the front passenger side, according to the complaint. Smith turned the Jeep’s lights off as he passed the deputy and increased his speed to 85 mph at 7:41 p.m.
The complaint states that Smith finally stopped the vehicle at 8 p.m. near milepost 146 in Dane County, whereupon Smith immediately exited the vehicle and put his hands up. The stolen vehicle bore Washington, D.C. plates, which were from a Dodge passenger car.
Court proceedings for Smith in Columbia County Circuit Court have not yet been scheduled.
Follow Noah Vernau on Twitter @NoahVernau or contact him at 608-695-4956.