The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Robert Joe Johnson, 37 yoa male from St. Croix Falls, WI.
On May 13th at 2:36AM a St. Croix Falls Police Officer was traveling northbound on Adams Street near the intersection with Louisiana Street when a vehicle pulled away from the curb and started to travel northbound alongside the patrol car. The officer stopped his patrol car and allowed the vehicle to pass. The officer then attempted to stop the vehicle for traffic violations. The driver of the vehicle failed to yield and continued northbound on STH 87 near Otter Slide Avenue where the officer discontinued the pursuit.
Approximately 10 minutes later, a Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy observed a vehicle stopped on County Road N, west of Highway 35, and was in the west bound travel lane facing east. The operator appeared to be waving his hands to get the Deputies attention.
The Deputy began to approach the vehicle, during which time the vehicle took off, east bound on County Road N. It appeared to be the same vehicle that had fled from the St. Croix Falls Police Officer. Decision was made not to pursue the suspect. Information was relayed to the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office that the vehicle was last observed traveling north bound on Hwy 35 from the Village of Luck.
Approximately 50 minutes later, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a report of a single car rollover crash on Hwy 35 at the intersection of 160th street, south of the village of Frederic. Upon Deputies arrival, it was determined that this was the vehicle that had fled from St Croix Police and Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies.
Upon investigation of the scene, it appeared the suspect had continued north bound on Hwy 35. As it approached the curve at that intersection, the vehicle crossed left of center and impacted the guard rail just to the south of the 160th St intersection. The vehicle continued off the guardrail, still north bound. The vehicle then entered the ditch to the north of the intersection. After entering the ditch, the vehicle began to roll. After rolling several times the, driver was ejected. The vehicle traveled approximately 1500 feet from where it struck the guardrail before it came to rest. The driver passed away on scene due to the injuries he sustained in the crash.
Assisting the St Croix Falls Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office was the Northland Area Ambulance Service, the Frederic Fire Department and First Responders, and the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The crash is still under investigation with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The name of the driver will be released at a later date.
- Per Polk County Sheriff Brent Waak.