‘Claimed to be tired:’ Report of driver sleeping in vehicle led to 44 charges after pursuit, crashes

Tommy Hines/Police lights (Getty Images)

RACINE COUNTY — A Milwaukee man faces 44 charges after prosecutors said a call regarding a driver asleep behind the wheel led to a high-speed pursuit in which the driver struck three other vehicles and came dangerously close to a construction crew on the side of the roadway.

Tommy Hines, 21, faces the following charges:

  • First degree recklessly endangering safety, repeater — eight counts
  • Vehicle operator flee/elude officer, repeater
  • Hit-and-run involving injury, repeater — two counts
  • Hit-and-run, repeater
  • Operating while revoked, repeater
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, repeater
  • Misdemeanor bail jumping, repeater — 30 counts

According to a criminal complaint, on May 16 around 3:30 p.m., an officer on patrol was notified about a driver who fell asleep while stopped at a stoplight. It was learned Tommy Hines was the driver, and he did not have a valid driver’s license.

The officer headed to the area near Durand Avenue and Willow Road in Sturtevant and located the vehicle headed westbound on Durand. The officer performed a U-turn to get behind the vehicle, and at that point, the complaint said Hines accelerated — driving around traffic — continuing westbound on Durand at approximately 80 miles per hour.

The complaint said Hines failed to stop for a stop sign upon turning northbound on Renaissance, failing to stop at a red light at Renaissance and Highway 20. Nearing a dead-end on Renaissance, the complaint said Hines turned around and began to drive southbound on Renaissance. As speeds increased to approximately 100 miles per hour, Hines again blew through a stoplight.

In Mount Pleasant on Highway H, the complaint said Hines drove around traffic and struck another vehicle — sideswiping a Ford Ranger and causing the vehicle to crash into the ditch with construction workers present. The complaint said there were five workers, and one said he yelled at Hines to “slow down” as Hines passed.

Hines continued driving and collided with a Chevy Equinox. The driver of that vehicle complained of a head injury. Hines soon collided with a third vehicle — a Dodge Durango. The driver of that vehicle complained of back pain.

Hines eventually came to a stop due to the damage his vehicle sustained.

He was ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint — and taken into custody without incident. The complaint said he told investigators he’d smoked marijuana that morning. A K-9 alerted to controlled substances in the vehicle, but none were found. Officials did locate a digital scale, the complaint said.

The complaint said at one point, Hines was found asleep in a squad. He “claimed to be tired.” He fell asleep again en route to the police station, where field sobriety tests were performed. He fell asleep again while in the interview room and the complaint said “officers suspected Hines to be impaired by some substance given the circumstances.” He was taken to the hospital for a blood draw, and the complaint said OWI charges were pending the results of the blood analysis.

According to the complaint, Hines was out on bond in two cases out of Waukesha County — with bond set in July 2018.

Online court records showed Hines was charged with misdemeanor bail jumping out of Waukesha County in January 2019. An arrest warrant was issued Jan. 29.

In July 2018, he was charged with OWI, first offense, with passenger under 16 and operating without a valid license (second offense within three years) — two counts. A bench warrant was issued in December 2018 when Hines failed to show up in court, and his $300 signature bond and $250 cash bond were forfeited in the two cases.

Hines made his initial appearance in court in the latest case on May 17. Probable cause was found for further proceedings. Cash bond was set at $50,000 and a preliminary hearing was set for May 23.

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