PLEASANT PRAIRIE -- A Pleasant Prairie man was arrested in his own garage after a pursuit that started at Walgreens ended on Cooper Road in Pleasant Prairie early Wednesday, Aug. 21. It all started when an officer noticed the man's vehicle crossing the center line multiple times. Robert Seal, 65, indicated he was in pain, and he was headed to Walgreens for medication.
Seal faces three charges, filed Wednesday:
- Vehicle operator flee/elude office, resulting in bodily harm
- First degree recklessly endangering safety
- Obstructing an officer
According to a criminal complaint, around 1:15 a.m. on Wednesday, a Pleasant Prairie police officer saw a vehicle pull out of a driveway on Cooper Road near 86th Street in Pleasant Prairie -- crossing over the center line into the opposite lane of traffic. The officer followed the vehicle, which turned onto 85th Street. Near 85th Street and 39th Avenue, the vehicle crossed into the striped yellow portion of the lane, before getting into the right lane. The vehicle then continued to cross the solid white line between the right lane for 85th Street and the left turn lane for vehicles to head north on 39th Avenue. The vehicle also crossed the center line on 39th Avenue.
The officer attempted a traffic stop, and the vehicle pulled into the Walgreens lot on 80th Street. As the officer approached the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Seal, yelled that he was going to drive away if the officer continued to take a long time. The complaint said Seal provided his license, but he was unable to provide proof of insurance.
According to the complaint, Seal was argumentative, and indicated he was in pain and was going to get medication for his pain. While the officer returned to the squad to check DOT records, the complaint said Seal indicated he was going to go through the drive-thru to get his medication, but he was informed he could not do that. It was determined he should be detained due to his threats to leave the scene, but Seal "stated that he was not going to get out of the vehicle."
The complaint said officers continued to try to get Seal out of his vehicle, but he put it in "drive" and accelerated forward. One officer's hand was inside the vehicle at the time, and another officer was in front of the vehicle.
As Seal drove through the parking lot, the complaint said a sergeant attempted to block his vehicle by parking in front of the exit, but Seal was able to go around the squad -- heading south on 39th Avenue at a high rate of speed. A pursuit ensued.
Near 39th Avenue and 85th Street, the complaint said Seal attempted to turn to head west on 85th Street, but he missed the turn due to the high rate of speed, and almost struck a pole at the corner of the intersection. Officers pulled in to attempt a high-risk traffic stop, and at this point, the complaint said Seal put his vehicle in reverse, striking a squad's front end. Seal then took off westbound on 85th Street.
The officer whose squad was struck suffered a muscle strain in his neck, the complaint said.
Another pursuit ensued, reaching speeds of 91 miles per hour -- with Seal headed toward his home on Cooper Road -- eventually pulling into the garage. Officers approached with guns drawn, and Seal again refused to exit his vehicle, the complaint said. He was eventually removed from the vehicle, and resisted officers' attempts to handcuff him. A Taser had to be used in order to secure him.
The complaint said he advised he was having back pain, and he requested medical attention. At the hospital, he said "somebody had been tailgating him and he got scared." He said he turned into Walgreens and "he then saw the lights and knew it was a police officer." He said "he was scared because he did not know what the police were going to do to him, so he took off in his car in an attempt to go home."
"I'll put it this way, there's nothing rational about Mr. Seal's thinking that night," said Chief David Smetana, Pleasant Prairie Police Department. "I got the feeling that it seemed to be an incredible inconvenience for him."
The chief said if Seal would have complied with officers, he most likely would have ended up with a verbal warning.
Seal made his initial appearance in court Wednesday. Cash bond was set at $2,000, and an adjourned initial appearance was scheduled for Sept. 18.