Officer struck while preparing to deploy tire deflation device

SLN staff

A Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy faces a “long and arduous” road to recovery after being struck by a fleeing vehicle he was attempting to stop early Sunday morning.

Wayne Blanchard, a 20-plus-year veteran of the department, suffered injuries that initially left him in critical condition at an area hospital.

“Early Sunday morning an alleged impaired driver traveling at a high rate of speed endangering the citizens of Walworth County was being pursued in an effort to save lives and stop this reckless driving,” Sheriff Kurt Picknell stated in a department news release. “In the course of this incident, Deputy Blanchard put himself in harm’s way to utilize a tire deflation device to stop this vehicle, and in doing so was struck. Deputy Blanchard sustained severe injuries.”

Blanchard, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was on Highway 120 north of Kniep Road in the Town of Spring Prairie, monitoring the radio transmissions of the pursuit, according to police.

He took a position behind a guardrail and was prepared to deploy the tire deflation device in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle. As the vehicle approached Blanchard’s position the driver began to lose control along the shoulder of the northbound traffic lane. The driver struck the guardrail, injuring a passenger in his vehicle, and Blanchard, the news release states.

Picknell said this incident is another reminder of the courageous dedication by law enforcement to keep the community safe.

“I thank all of the first responders and medical staff for the professional care. The ongoing support from citizens is vital to the success of our public safety mission. Please keep Deputy Blanchard and his family in your thoughts and prayers,” Picknell stated.

Chase started in city

The pursuit began just after 1 a.m. Sunday morning when another Walworth County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop a driver for traveling 62 mph in a 25 mph zone in the City of Lake Geneva.

The driver increased speeds in excess of 100 mph traveling north on Highway 120. As the driver approached the intersection at Highway 11, both the headlights and taillights were turned off and the vehicle failed to stop at the posted stop sign continuing north on Highway 120 at a high rate of speed, the news release states.

Following the crash, the suspect driver, Tony Perales, 25, of Racine, was transported to an area hospital for treatment and afterwards taken to the Walworth County Jail.

The passenger of the suspect vehicle was transported to an area hospital and later released. The passenger is a 31-year-old man from Racine.

According to the news release, the following charges against Perales will be referred to the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office:

  • Flee and eluding;
  • Operating while intoxicated causing great bodily harm;
  • Injury by intoxicated use of motor vehicle; and
  • Operating without a driver’s license causing great bodily harm.

Assisting agencies included the Wisconsin State Patrol, Village of East Troy Police Department, Town of East Troy Police Department, East Troy Fire and Rescue and the Mukwonago Fire Department.

Fund to benefit deputy

On Monday, Aug. 2, a Go Fund Me page for Blanchard was created. As of the afternoon of Aug. 4, nearly 280 people had donated more than $22,000.

“As of this writing, Blanch is in critical, but stable, condition and has undergone two surgeries in the first 24 hours following the incident,” a post on the page states. “Given the extent of his injuries, he is expected to undergo multiple medical procedures in the coming days and the road to rehabilitation will be long and arduous.”

The post goes on to share that Blanchard is an “outstanding husband, son, friend, colleague, father and grandfather that has dedicated his life to serving others,” from his service as a U.S. Marine and 20-plus years in law enforcement to volunteering with the Blue Knights and Special Olympics.

“Please consider supporting Blanch and his family by donating to his recovery fund – 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the Blanchard family,” the page states. “Please continue with the kind thoughts and prayers for Blanchard family as they navigate through, and recover from this traumatic incident, and thank you for supporting your local law enforcement agencies and those who selflessly serve our communities.”

To make a donation, visit gofundme.com and search for Walworth County Deputy Recovery Fund.

 
 

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