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Suspect in shootout near Ridgeland pleads guilty

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  A 33-year-old Dallas man involved in a shootout with law enforcement officers near Ridgeland in June of 2014 has pleaded guilty in Dunn County Circuit Court.

Jared Brendel appeared before Judge Michael Bitney August 6 with his attorney, Daniel Chapman, and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety and one felony count of a felon in possession of a firearm.

Brendel was accused of leading Barron County deputies on a high speed chase June 3, 2014, that ended up in a shootout with Barron County deputies and Dunn County deputies near the intersection of 1370th Avenue and 530th Street, a little more than halfway between state Highway 64 and Ridgeland.

Prior to the plea agreement, Brendel had been charged with a variety of felonies: two counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety, one count of attempted first degree homicide, three counts of intentionally pointing a firearm at law enforcement officers, felony bail jumping, a felon in possession of a firearm, driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent, fleeing officers and second degree recklessly endangering safety.

In a separate case from May of that year, Brendel was charged with felony bail jumping and misdemeanor theft of property worth less than $2,500.

The second case of felony bail jumping and theft was dismissed by Judge Bitney at the August 6 court hearing but those charges will be read into the record for sentencing. The remaining felonies from the June 2014 case also were dismissed but will be read into the record for sentencing as well.

Bail in the Brendel case was set at $250,000 cash on June 19, 2014.

Barron County deputies were looking for Brendel in connection with a high speed chase that had occurred in May of 2014. The day prior to the shootout with deputies in June, Brendel was seen outside of a home south of Dallas with a gun. Deputies began looking for Brendel and considered him to be armed and dangerous.

Dunn County District Andrea Nodolf and Brendel’s attorney, Chapman, issued a joint recommendation for 20 years of initial confinement and ten years of probation — ten years of confinement consecutive for each of the two felony charges of recklessly endangering safety.

The counts of recklessly endangering safety and a felon in possession of a firearm were charged as a “repeat offender,” defined as a habitual criminal with a prior felony conviction in the last five years.

Judge Bitney noted that a number of charges had been referred to Barron County that were uncharged.

As part of the plea agreement, Brendel agreed to have the uncharged counts also considered at the time of sentencing.

First degree recklessly endangering safety as an enhanced Class F felony carries a penalty of a fine on each count of up to $25,000, 18.5 years of initial confinement and five years of probation.

The felony count of a felon in possession of a firearm as an enhanced Class G felony carries a penalty of a fine of up to $25,000, nine years of initial confinement and five years of probation.

The high speed chase on June 3, 2014, ended with a “pit maneuver” and Brendel firing a semi-automatic pistol at officers on the scene, Judge Bitney noted.

The prior felony conviction was for possession of methamphetamine in Barron County in December of 2012, the judge said.

According to a news release from Barron County, on June 3, 2014, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a report about a man walking in a field near the area where deputies had searched for Brendel the day before. Deputies from Barron County, troopers from the Wisconsin State Patrol, and K-9 officers from the Rice Lake Police Department responded to the area.

Officers located a vehicle without license plates, and when a Barron County deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver took off, leading officers on a ten-mile chase that ended in Dunn County.

Brendel is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in Dunn County Circuit Court October 20 at 1:30 p.m.

He remains in custody at the Dunn County jail.

Prior to the plea agreement, a three day trial for Brendel had been scheduled in Dunn County Circuit Court beginning September 2.