BURNETT COUNTY -- Multiple felony charges have been filed against a Grantsburg, WI man after he allegedly fled from Burnett County Law Enforcement on February 16, 2018.
Michael E. Denn, of Grantsburg, WI, is charged with Class I Felony Possession of Methamphetamine, Class H Felony Battery to Law Enforcement Officer, Class I Felony Attempting to Flee or Elude a Traffic Officer, Class H Felony Attempt Disarming a Peace Officer, Class H Felony Escape, two counts of Misdemeanor Resisting an Officer, and Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after an incident on February 16, 2018 in the Town of Trade Lake, Burnett County. Multiple non-criminal traffic citations were also filed against Denn, including Operating While Intoxicated 1st Offense, Reckless Driving-Endanger Safety, Operating Left of Center Line, Operate Without Insurance, Operate Without Registration Lamps, and Fail to Wear Seat Belt.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Denn in Burnett County Circuit Court, shortly after 10p on February 16, 2018, Burnett County Law Enforcement spotted a dark colored full-size van parked improperly on County Road M near the intersection with State Highway 48. The van was blocking a portion of the southbound lane of County Road M. The officer who initially spotted the van was en route to a domestic abuse call at the time and was unable to stop and investigate immediately.
Approximately an hour later, after clearing from the domestic abuse call, and with the assistance of another officer, the van was once again located. Officers observed the van traveling erratically on Lakewood Drive, increasing speed and then slowing down, swerving from lane to lane on the road. Just before 11:30 PM, the officers stopped the van.
The driver was identified as Michael Denn. The criminal complaint goes on to state that Denn was having trouble holding on to the paperwork he attempted to provide the officers when they asked for proof of registration and insurance for the van. The officers also allegedly noticed that Denn exhibited signs of methamphetamine use, including fresh sores on his face and hands; red, glassy eyes; dilated pupils; poor hygiene; and strong body odor. Denn allegedly became very argumentative with the officers, yelling and arguing.
The officers had Denn exit the van to explain the multiple traffic violations and equipment violations that they had observed throughout the traffic stop. A Burnett County K9 Squad was also on scene and began to attempt an exterior sniff of the vehicle.
According to the criminal complaint, Denn yelled, “You’re not going to search my van!”, and ran to the driver’s door of the van. At that time, an officer told Denn he was under arrest and attempted to direct Denn to the ground, but Denn allegedly pushed back and knocked the officer over backward; slipping his arms out of his coat in the process and breaking the officer’s hold on him. Denn re-entered the van, the criminal complaint states, turned it on and quickly sped away, squealing the tires on the van.
Officers took pursuit of Denn’s van, as he accelerated to 55 miles an hour through a 25 mile an hour speed zone. Denn stopped the van in a driveway and officers used a squad car to block the driver’s door of the van. Officers ordered Denn to exit the van, but he did not comply.
Burnett County Dispatch advised the officers on scene that Denn had called 911 and stated that he was not going to open the door for law enforcement and that he was waiting for help from a friend and for another officer to arrive. Dispatch told Denn to turn off the van and he did.
The criminal complaint goes on to state that Denn still would not unlock the van door and open it, so an officer utilized a baton to break the window glass on the driver’s side. Denn allegedly lunged at the officer, who then deployed a Taser at Denn’s chest. Denn allegedly removed the taser probes from his body and began kicking at the officer.
Two officers continued to attempt to subdue Denn and place him under arrest, however, Denn continued to resist; slipping out of his shirt and breaking their hold on him; running between the vehicles; kicking at the officers; grabbing for a Taser; and fighting with the officers. Ultimately, Denn was taken into custody.
The criminal complaint goes on to state that a search warrant was obtained for Denn’s van after law enforcement reviewed a conversation that Denn had with a visitor who came to see him at the Burnett County Jail. During this conversation, Denn allegedly made a statement in reference to several thousand dollars worth of cash that had been in the van.
When the van was searched, officers found numerous rubber bands of the type commonly used by drug traffickers to bundle large amounts of cash as well as 3 rolls of plastic wrap (which the criminal complaint also states is commonly used by drug traffickers to wrap large amounts of cash). Also inside the van, officers found a glass methamphetamine pipe, butane torches, and various tools including gloves, headlamp, flashlight, pry bar, pry bar with handle, and a spotlight.
Law enforcement also reviewed a telephone conversation that Denn allegedly had with a different individual in which he made reference to a portion of the route of the pursuit on February 16. When officers searched the area referenced by Denn, they retrieved a container which held a clear glass bubble style smoking device and a gem bag containing ½ gram of methamphetamine.
Denn was placed on a $25,000 cash bond on February 20, 2018; that bail bond was amended to $5,000 cash which was posted on March 5, 2018, according to online circuit court records.
Denn made an initial appearance on his charges on March 14, 2018, and is due to appear again in April 2018.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.