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Sheriff: Drunk Driver Flees Wis. Deputy After Traffic Stop, Passenger Killed In Crash

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -Authorities say a suspected drunk driver led a Wisconsin deputy on a chase Friday morning and later crashed into a tree, killing the passenger.

According to the Barron County Sheriff's Department, around 12:14 a.m. the deputy stopped a speeding vehicle near Highway 8 just east of Barron. When the deputy approached the vehicle he suspected the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

The officer asked the driver to exit the car to conduct a sobriety test and the driver complied. As the pair walked back to the deputy's car the driver claimed he needed to grab something from his own car. The deputy told the driver he was prohibited to do so but the driver continued. The deputy grabbed the individual in an attempt to stop him and a struggle ensued between them. The driver eventually pulled away from the officer and reached into the door of his car. The deputy drew his gun, took cover, and asked the driver and the passenger to exit the vehicle. Both refused and the suspect drove off.

A chase ensued heading southbound on 18th Street for about seven miles until the deputy lost sight of the vehicle and ended the pursuit. Soon after, authorities located the vehicle that had struck a tree in a field driveway. The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver was transported to Barron Hospital with minor injuries.

The driver was arrested for suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, his sixth offense. He was also arrested for homicide causing death by intoxicated use of motor vehicle and fleeing an officer.

The suspect is being held in the Barron County Jail awaiting formal charges by the Barron County District Attorney's Office. The case remains under investigation.

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