MILWAUKEE -- Prosecutors say a man accused of his sixth OWI offense, which took place after a pursuit during the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend, tried telling investigators his vehicle had been stolen, and the thief took his keys. However, his story fell apart when investigators found his keys -- in his own pocket. This man is also accused of damaging a deputy's squad during the four-mile pursuit.
Michael Shilbauer, 48, is charged with OWI, fifth or sixth offense, operator flee/elude officer-bodily harm or property damage and second degree recklessly endangering safety -- three felony charges.
According to a criminal complaint, during the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend, around midnight on Sunday, March 18 a deputy in a marked squad spotted a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 145, before the driver suddenly slammed on the brakes. The vehicle nearly came to a stop in traffic. The deputy started following the vehicle as it started moving again, and the complaint says the driver was deviating from his lane.
The deputy activated his lights and sirens near Silver Spring, but the vehicle didn't stop -- accelerating to a high rate of speed before exiting the freeway briefly. The complaint says the vehicle then cut across all lanes of traffic and got back on the freeway, heading northbound. The vehicle exited at Highway 145 southbound at 91st St., heading north on 91st -- cutting across three lanes of traffic. Traffic was stopped for a red light, and the complaint says the vehicle cut in front of other vehicles, disregarding the red light at Mill Rd.
The vehicle turned right onto 91st, heading northbound, and the deputy pulled alongside it in an effort to get the driver's attention. The vehicle then turned right onto Denver St., before turning left as the deputy shined his spotlight onto the driver. The vehicle then turned right onto Helena before turning left onto 86th -- accelerating again. The vehicle then turned right to head eastbound onto Good Hope.
The vehicle finally began to pull over near Noyes Park on Good Hope, and the deputy positioned his squad in an effort to force the driver to turn into the parking lot. The vehicle then struck the squad -- damaging it. The deputy tried pushing the vehicle, but it accelerated and the deputy continued onto the grass.
The deputy took a look at the driver, and noticed it was a white man wearing glasses and a Green Bay Packers' hat.
The complaint says the vehicle then headed westbound on Good Hope at a high rate of speed in the eastbound lanes -- passing other vehicles. The pursuit was terminated. It lasted 4.3 miles.
The deputy was able to take down the suspect vehicle's license plate and learned it was registered to Michael Shilbauer. The deputy went to his address and spoke with his mother.
The suspect vehicle was found abandoned at 80th and Casper, less than a half-mile from Shilbauer's home.
Deputies began searching for Shilbauer, and he was found walking through a yard near his home. He was positively identified as the driver, based on squad video.
The complaint says Shilbauer was found to have slurred speech and red, glassy eyes. Additionally, deputies noticed an odor of intoxicants. When asked if he'd be willing to perform field sobriety tests, he said "no, I was not driving. My car was stolen. They took my key." However, the complaint says a key to the vehicle was found in his pocket.
Shilbauer was taken to the hospital, and a sample of his blood was taken for analysis.
The complaint notes that he was convicted of OWI in 2013 in Milwaukee County, 2006 in Waukesha County, 2004 in Dodge County and 2000 in Milwaukee County.
Shilbauer made his initial appearance in court in this case on March 23. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 30. Cash bond was set at $1,000.