MOUNT PLEASANT -- Two people suffered severe injuries after they were struck by a vehicle driven by a 17-year-old Racine boy, attempting to flee from police in Mount Pleasant Sunday, Jan. 14. The suspect has been identified as Isaiah Degroot.
Police said at around 10:40 a.m., a Racine County sheriff's deputy went to stop a dark SUV as it pulled into the parking lot of the Kohl's store on Washington Ave. near Green Bay Rd. Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said the deputy noticed suspicious behavior in the vehicle and ran the plates, which didn't match the vehicle -- something that's common when it comes to stolen cars.
The deputy followed the suspect vehicle into the parking lot. The driver fled at a high rate of speed and lost control of the vehicle -- which resulted in a crash involving two pedestrians. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. He ran roughly a half-mile until authorities were able to catch him. He was taken into custody.
Officials said there were two people in the vehicle -- the driver and a passenger.
Several people were hurt when the driver fled -- including a man and a woman who suffered severe injuries after they were struck by the suspect vehicle.
They have been identified as Cheryl Coopman, 47 and Jeffery Coopman, 53 -- a couple from Union Grove. Both were taken to the hospital -- Cheryl Coopman via Flight for Life. This, after sheriff's officials said the deputy jumped into acting, applying a tourniquet to one of the victims until rescue personnel took over.
Sheriff's officials said Monday the Coopmans remained in critical but stable condition at the hospital.
Sheriff Schmaling noted that the deputy initially attempting the traffic stop was more concerned with saving the lives of those injured than chasing the suspect immediately. The first deputy applied the tourniquet after recognizing the victims were near death. A Festival Foods employee came out and took off his belt for his pants to help apply a second tourniquet to another area of the victim's body. Schamling thanked both for saving lives.
Officials said the driver, Degroot, was arrested in November for violent felonies including firing shots from a vehicle, Sheriff Schamling said. He was out on bond at the time of the crash at Festival Foods. The passenger did not flee the scene and is cooperating with the investigation -- taken into custody for questioning.
Authorities said Degroot could face the below charges:
- Fleeing and eluding
- Hit-and-run causing great bodily harm
- Hit-and-run causing injury
- Operating motor vehicle without owner's consent
- Receiving stolen property (firearm)
- First degree recklessly endangering safety
- Possession with intent to deliver THC
- Obstructing an officer
- Bail jumping -- nine counts
Sheriff Schmaling said the suspect vehicle in this case was stolen out of Milwaukee County, and investigators found a weapon inside.