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August 17, 2019

7/16/2019 7:30:00 AM
RPD officer involved in high-speed pursuit
By River News Staff

A Rhinelander police officer was involved in a high-speed pursuit Sunday evening after a shoplifting suspect fled the Rhinelander Wal-Mart store and headed toward Vilas County.

According to a Rhinelander police department press release, the pursuit began at approximately 7:42 p.m. and ended in Vilas County when the suspect vehicle crashed.

"The Rhinelander Police Department was initially responding to a shoplifting complaint at Wal-Mart, but prior to officer's arrival the suspect left the store," the release states. "The asset protection staff was able to provide a basic description of the vehicle the suspect left the area in, including that the vehicle had a Michigan license plate. A Rhinelander officer observed a vehicle, believed to be the suspect vehicle, travel through the intersection on the STH 17 bypass at Timber Dr. Upon seeing the vehicle, the officer turned on to the STH 17 bypass and attempted to initiate a stop on the suspect vehicle. When the officer initiated the stop, the suspect vehicle accelerated from the area. The suspect vehicle continued north on STH 17 eventually leaving the Rhinelander city limits. The officer continued pursuing the vehicle with speeds at times reaching 120 miles per hour. While in the town of Pine Lake, an Oneida County deputy became involved and assisted in the pursuit. The Vilas County sheriff's office was contacted and notified the pursuit that was going north and may enter their county. A Vilas County deputy subsequently positioned a squad in the south bound lane of STH 17 and deployed a tire deflation device in the northbound lane of STH 17 approximately one mile north of the county line. The suspect vehicle then attempted to get around the stop sticks at a high rate of speed and subsequently left the roadway, crashing into a wooded area."

The male suspect, identified as 47-year-old Kevin A. Block, was subsequently transported to Ascension Hospital in Eagle River for medical treatment. Block was later airlifted to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau for further medical evaluation and treatment where he remains under guard by law enforcement, the release states.

It was later learned that Block has a nationwide extraditable warrant from the State of Michigan.

The Rhinelander Police Department was assisted by the Oneida and Vilas County sheriff's offices, Eagle River Police & Fire Departments, Three Lakes police department, and Oneida and Vilas Co. EMS. This matter remains under investigation by the Rhinelander Police Department and criminal charges are expected to be referred to the district attorney's office, the release states.

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