Watch: Deputies drag chase suspect from burning vehicle

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Video courtesy: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

TOMAH, Wis. (WXOW) – Video shows law enforcement officers risking their lives in pulling the suspect in a high speed chase from his burning vehicle.

The incident happened early Thursday morning on I-90 when a Monroe County, Wisconsin deputy tried to stop a vehicle traveling at approximately 120 mph. The eastbound chase began near the WIS 27 exit near Sparta and continued to near the Hwy. 131 exit by Tomah.

The chase, which reached speeds of more than 100 mph, slowed after spike strips were deployed on the suspect’s vehicle.

In the video provided by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the chase ended when the suspect tried to turn around on the interstate then went off the road. The suspect’s vehicle rolled down an embankment and hit a fence.

The vehicle, a 2008 GMC Acadia, began to smoke with flames visible a few minutes later. The video shows deputies slowly approaching the vehicle. They used beanbag rounds to break the back window to keep smoke from filling the vehicle and to provide the suspect a route to get out.

The suspect, identified as Robert LaVake of Colorado, was physically pulled from the rear of the burning vehicle by officers.

He was taken to Sparta Mayo Hospital for injuries from the crash. LaVake was released later Thursday and booked into the Monroe county Jail.

He was charged Friday with several counts including 2nd Degree Reckless Endangering Safety, Fleeing, and Driving or Operate Vehicle without Consent. The SUV he was driving was reported stolen from Colorado.

Two dogs inside the vehicle with LaVake got out after the crash. They were later safely recovered and are at the Monroe County Animal Shelter.

At a court appearance Friday, Judge Richard Radcliffe ordered LaVake held on $2,000 cash bond. He’ll return to court Monday.

Screen capture of burning vehicle rescue video


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