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High-speed chase in Town of Elk Mound ends with one vehicle on fire on I-94

By LeAnn R. Ralph

TOWN OF ELK MOUND  —  A high-speed chase that started in the Town of Elk Mound around 1 a.m. February 19 ended with a crash and one vehicle on fire on Interstate 94.

The incident began when a Dunn County deputy saw a four-door sedan driven by Michael Gardner, 43, of Eau Claire, fail to stop at the stop sign at 850th Street and U.S. Highway 12 in the Town of Elk Mound, according to a news release from the Dunn County sheriff’s department.

Gardner’s vehicle, a 2014 Toyota Camry, merged onto eastbound I-94 at more than 95 mph.

The deputy attempted to stop the Camry, but the driver increased his speed to more than 100 mph.

The Dunn County deputy notified the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Near mile marker 65 in the Town of Washington in Eau Claire County, Gardner’s fleeing vehicle came up behind several other vehicles traveling eastbound on I-94 and struck a 1998 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck from the rear.

Both vehicles lost control, and the S10 started on fire.

A deputy was able to extricate the driver from the S10, and the driver was transported to Mayo-Eau Claire by Eau Claire Fire and Rescue.

Gardner was not injured in the crash and was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant causing injury and felony fleeing from an officer.

According to the news release, Gardner was transported to the Dunn County jail, and formal charges from the Dunn County district attorney’s office are pending.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating the accident.

Gardner is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Dunn County Circuit Court March 17.