Jan. 24-EAU CLAIRE - An Eau Claire man engaged Eau Claire police in three vehicle pursuits over an eight-month period, authorities say.
Tyler J. Zais, 32, 2124 Mittelstadt Lane, was charged Tuesday in Eau Claire County Court with three felony counts of eluding an officer, a felony count of bail jumping, and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.
A $5,000 cash bail was set for Zais, which prohibits him from driving without a valid license and requires him to maintain absolute sobriety.
Zais returns to court Feb. 6.
According to the criminal complaint:
Eau Claire police reported the fleeing incidents on May 24, Sept. 18 and Jan. 10.
In the first incident, an Eau Claire police officer saw a white sport utility vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed at 12:33 p.m. on the North Crossing.
As the vehicle passed his location, the officer activated his emergency lights and proceeded to follow the vehicle to conduct a traffic stop.
The vehicle accelerated and went through a red light at the North Crossing and Old Wells Road and drove through a work zone at a high rate of speed at the North Crossing and Jeffers Road. The officer then terminated the pursuit.
A records check showed the vehicle was associated with Zais.
In the second incident, a police officer noticed a blue van with an expired license plate parked at Zais' residence. The officer knew Zais was wanted for felony fleeing and two warrants.
At 1:23 p.m. that day, the officer activated his emergency lights and attempted to conduct a traffic stop when he saw that van traveling on the North Clairemont Avenue frontage road at Melanie Lane.
The vehicle accelerated and went west on Vine Street. The vehicle ran a red light at Vine Street and North Clairemont Avenue, almost striking northbound and southbound traffic.
The pursuit continued on Cameron Street, reaching a speed of 94 mph. The pursuit was terminated after the vehicle began to weave between vehicles in front of it.
In the third incident, police were called to Kwik Trip on North Clairemont Avenue for a vehicle check at 10:44 a.m. The vehicle had been parked in the lot for more than four hours and the driver appeared to be passed out.
An officer arrived and identified the driver as Zais. The officer woke up Zais and was standing just outside of Zais' vehicle with the driver's door open.
The officer learned of Zais' prior fleeing incidents and instructed him to turn off the vehicle.
Zais then placed the vehicle into drive and sped off at a high rate of speed with the driver's door open. The officer was not able to locate Zais following this incident.
On Friday, police located Zais and arrested him. Zais admitted to all three fleeing incidents and was apologetic. Various pills were found in his possession at the time of his arrest.
At the time of the third fleeing incident, Zais was free on bond for three pending felony cases in Eau Claire and Dunn counties.
If convicted of the four new felony charges in connection with the fleeing incidents, Zais could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.