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Police chase ends in Roberts backyard

David J. Janowski

UPDATE: A 42-year-old Chetek man has been charged with multiple repeat felony counts in connection with a dinner-hour police chase Monday evening that began in Barron and ended in a Roberts backyard.

David J. Janowski, 42, appeared in St. Croix Circuit Court Aug. 19, where he was ordered to pay $25,000 cash bail on counts of felony first degree recklessly endangering safety (repeater), felony attempting to flee or elude a traffic officer (repeater, felony operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent (repeater), resisting an officer (repeater), criminal damage to property (repeater), criminal trespass (repeater) and operate motor vehicle while revoked.

Janowski remains in custody. His next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing at 1:30 on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

Janowski was convicted in Barron County Circuit Court May 7 for felony take vehicle and drive without consent and misdemeanor take/drive vehicle without consent-abandon vehicle from a Jan. 18 incident, according to Barron County court records.


A dinner-hour police chase involving a stolen car ended Monday evening with the suspect being wrestled to the ground in the backyard of a Roberts home, seconds after he’d burst into a stranger’s house and ran out a rear patio door.

David J. Janowski, 42, of Chetek, was expected to make a first appearance in St. Croix County Circuit Court Tuesday on multiple charges stemming from the chase, which began about 6:45 p.m. in New Richmond.

Janowski was alleged to have stolen a 2012 Chrysler 200 sedan from a party in Barron. St. Croix County authorities were asked to keep an eye out for the car, as law enforcement had received information that Janowski was heading to Somerset.

A New Richmond officer first spotted the vehicle headed west on Highway 64 at about 6:45 p.m., and as he waited for backup to make a felony stop, Janowski fled, according to Capt. Jeff Klatt with the Sheriff’s department.

The chase, through various New Richmond side streets, reached speeds of 50 to 70 mph, Klatt said. Rain had begun to fall in New Richmond and amidst a heavy downpour, New Richmond officers lost sight of the car.

Minutes later, Janowski was spotted again by a Sheriff’s deputy parked along Highway 65 near County Road E, and the chase began again as other officers headed to assist. Road conditions were dry south of New Richmond, Klatt said.

Another deputy who had set up near 100th Avenue and Highway 65, managed to deploy a spike strip before the suspect drove past, puncturing one of the front tires on the Chrysler.

The deputy lost sight of the Chrysler as it entered the Highway 65/Highway 12 roundabout, but seconds later, he saw a motorist who had pulled over, “frantically pointing” to Briarwood Boulevard — the only street into a housing development on Roberts’ north side.

A short time later, the officer reported he’d found the car and the suspect. The vehicle had run off the street and was hung up on a berm off Cheyenne Street, which parallels Highway 65. The front tire was shredded down to the rim.

A foot pursuit began, and the officer saw the suspect run into a home at 412 Dakota St. and slam the door. A short time later, the deputy reported the suspect had exited into the backyard and was struggling with officers.

Klatt said the subject had escaped and was charging up a flight of stairs back into the house when the deputy caught him by the belt and pulled him to the ground, ending the drama.

The family at the residence was watching television when the man ran through.

The suspect subsequently complained of pain — supposedly the result of injuries suffered in an auto accident a year earlier — and requested medical evaluation. He was transported to Hudson Hospital for evaluation before he was taken to jail.

Steve Dzubay

Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer from 1995-2016. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.