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Business owner charged in chase, crash

Bennie Brevard-Mays (St. Croix County Jail photo)

A New Richmond downtown business owner was arrested late Friday night after he allegedly led police and Sheriff’s deputies on a chase through New Richmond before crashing.

Bennie Brevard-Mays, owner of New York Stylez clothing store in downtown New Richmond, remained in jail in Hudson over the three-day weekend. On Tuesday morning, he was formally charged with felony counts of recklessly endangering safety and fleeing an officer. He is also facing misdemeanor charges of drunken driving (second offense) and obstructing an officer.

According to St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson, dispatchers received a call from a motorist at 11:47 p.m. reporting that a white SUV had entered the ditch, worked its way out, and was driving erratically just north of Burkhardt on County Road A.

A deputy caught up to the SUV just south of Boardman, witnessed the driver speeding through the unincorporated area, and stopped the vehicle on County Road G, according to Knudson.

During the traffic stop, the deputy saw evidence that the vehicle had been in the ditch. The SUV had snow packed into its grill, and it appeared to be beginning to overheat, Knudson said. Brevard-Mays then refused to perform field sobriety tests and sped off east on County Road G.

Knudson said the deputy caught up to the SUV at the Highway 65 roundabout and attempted a pit maneuver in hopes of disabling the vehicle, but was not successful as the chase continued north on Highway 65 toward New Richmond.

Stop sticks were deployed just south of the New Richmond city limits, damaging the SUV’s tires. Despite the tire damage, the SUV continued to speed into the city at speeds faster than 70 mph, and headed the wrong way on southbound traffic lanes at West Richmond Way, according to Knudson.

The pursuit continued through downtown New Richmond and ended when the SUV’s tires failed while the driver was trying to turn west onto North Fourth Street. The 1998 Ford Expedition crashed into a vehicle parked at Cooper Motors, Knudson said.

The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incident and awaiting toxicology test results to determine whether Brevard-Mays was under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

Knudson said nobody was injured in the crash and declined to provide further details as the crash portion of the investigation was being handled by Wisconsin State Patrol.

Jake Johnson of Cooper Motors didn’t find out about the crash until the following morning. He said a 2000 Chrysler Sebring trade-in vehicle was totaled in the crash.

“This was dangerous for everybody involved from the beginning,” Knudson said. “Deciding whether to pursue the motor vehicle is a critical decision. These guys had to make that decision quickly, and it was such an unpredictable situation as far as what this guy’s intent is, what his destination is and what his thought process is.”

Knudson said he believed the deputy made the right call when he decided to pursue.

“It was proven even before law enforcement was ever involved, he had crashed, he had driven down the wrong side of the road and he was going through stop signs,” Knudson said. “Those guys out there felt, and after reviewing this information, I believe as well that one way or another, we had to stop the guy.”

Knudson said he was glad that it turned out the way it did with nobody being injured.

Bennie Brevard-Mays and his wife Stacy own New York Stylez clothing store in downtown New Richmond. Stacy Brevard-Mays is currently a candidate for seats on the New Richmond School District Board of Education and the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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