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By LeAnn R. Ralph
HUDSON — A 37-year-old New Richmond man who crashed his motorcycle in Glenwood City and has been charged with fleeing a police officer has pleaded not guilty in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
Steven D. Tudahl appeared before Judge Edward Vlack for an arraignment hearing September 4.
Tudahl is charged with one felony count of fleeing an officer and three misdemeanor counts of resisting or obstructing an officer, criminal damage to property, and possession of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
According to a report from the Glenwood City Police Department, at around 7:30 p.m. August 26, Officer Adam Malean was on duty on West Oak Street and could hear what sounded like a loud motorcycle revving its engine near the 100 block of East Oak Street.
Officer Malean parked near the motorcycle, which was facing north and pointed out from the angled parking spot. As the police officer was getting out of his vehicle to speak to the man on the motorcycle, the man shook his head and sped off, driving around the squad car, headed west.
The officer activated the squad’s emergency lights and siren and could see the motorcycle operator was approximately two blocks ahead. As Officer Malean contacted dispatch, he witnessed the motorcycle crash at the intersection of West Oak and Syme Avenue. The police squad was approximately 1.5 blocks behind the motorcycle when it crashed, according to the police report.
As Officer Malean arrived at the crash site, the man, later identified as Steven Tudahl, was already standing up, lifting the motorcycle and attempting to flee again.
The police officer parked the squad next to the motorcycle, which Tudahl was revving, attempting to get the motorcycle moving.
Officer Malean drew his taser and ordered Tudahl numerous times to get off the motorcycle, but to no avail. Tudahl got the motorcycle in drive and drove into the passenger side of the squad car.
“At that point, with the continued active resistance and the threat to the community, I discharged the taser. The taser seemed to have no affect or I did not make contact,” according to the police report.
Officer Malean dropped the taser in the ensuing scuffle with Tudahl, and after a short scuffle, the officer was “able to escort Steven to the ground.”
Tudahl used both hands to reach into his pockets, but Officer Malean eventually was able to put handcuffs on Tudahl.
When Officer Malean conducted a search for weapons, he found a small bag of a green leafy substance that Tudahl said was “pot.”
The officer monitored Tudahl’s medical status due to the accident and the taser deployment, and eventually Tudahl sat down next to the squad while waiting for EMS to arrive.
Tudahl said numerous times he did not want EMS and that he was fine, according to the police report.
Officer Malean could smell alcohol while speaking with Tudahl, and when asked about the odor, Tudahl said he’d had five drinks. The officer also noticed the taser probes were on the ground.
After EMS arrived, the police officer photographed the scene and called Mike’s Auto Body of Glenwood City to tow the motorcycle. EMS informed Officer Malean that Tudahl was refusing to be treated for any injuries, so the police officer placed Tudahl in the back seat of the squad car. Officer Malean asked dispatch if Tudahl had any prior Operating While Intoxicated convictions but was informed he did not, according to the police report.
The officer asked Tudahl if he was willing to perform a sobriety test because Tudahl had said he’d been drinking and because of the odor of intoxicants, and Tudahl agreed.
Since there were a number of citizens standing near the scene, Officer Malean transported Tudahl to the veterinary clinic 200 yards from the scene for the field sobriety tests.
When the officer arrived at the veterinary clinic, Tudahl said he was experiencing pain in his leg and hip, but when Officer Malean asked if he wanted medical treatment, Tudahl said he did not.
Since Tudahl said he had leg and hip pain, Officer Malean only performed a nystagmus test. [The presence of alcohol or drugs in a person’s system can result in jerking or bouncing movements in the eyeball.]
During the nystagmus test, Officer Malean noticed six of six clues, according to the police report.
When Tudahl was placed back in the squad car, he said he wanted medical attention because the pain was becoming worse, and EMS transported Tudahl to Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin. Officer Malean followed the ambulance.
After the medical staff at Western Wisconsin Health had performed their assessment, Officer Malean asked Tudahl if he was able to listen to the officer read something, and Tudahl agreed. The officer read “the informing the accused” to which Tudahl refused to submit to chemical testing, according to the police report.
After Tudahl was cleared by medical staff, Officer Malean transported him to the St. Croix County Jail.
While leaving the hospital, the officer noticed the squad car was missing a windshield wiper. The squad also had a dent and a cracked windshield, which presumably occurred when Tudahl drove into the squad car and which was later confirmed by the officer’s body camera, according to the police report.
Judge Vlack set a cash bail of $1,000 for Tudahl on August 27.
At the time of the arraignment hearing September 4, Tudahl remained in custody at the St. Croix County Jail.
Tudahl is scheduled for another court hearing on October 7.