By Shereen Siewert
Police involved in a high speed chase of man suspected in a brutal sexual assault case that ended in the death of two men have been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a state Department of Justice report released today.
The investigation, standard procedure in any officer-involved death in Wisconsin, centers on an April 29 crash on I-39 in Columbia County. Ter-Rance Phillit Simmons, 24, and Terrance P. Simmons, 26, both of Wausau, died while fleeing from police. The two men were brothers.
Investigators say Ter-Rance Simmons was armed and driving a stolen vehicle at speeds topping 100 mph when he ran over a portion of spike strips and crashed into the back of a semi tractor trailer.
According to the DOJ’s final report, Ter-Rance Simmons was being sought in connection with a brutal assault case in Schofield. The victim, who reported the crime to the Everest Metro Police Department, told officers that Ter-Rance Simmons assaulted her at a restaurant, stomped on her head with his foot and dragged her through rocks into an SUV. She was later released, according to her statement. He also assaulted a coworker at the restaurant who tried to help the woman, police said.
In her statement to police, the woman said that Ter-Rance Simmons, who was also a suspect in an armed burglary, kept a handgun with him. Police say he also mentioed “suicide by cop.”
Police tracked Ter-Rance Simmons through GPS and a Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper spotted him traveling at a high rate of speed in the Coloma area. The pursuit began a short time later, with assistance from officers and deputies from throughout the area.
Witnesses told police Ter-Rance Simmons’ vehicle was weaving around other cars, driving between cars and nearly forced another driver off the road, the report states.
The investigative report was turned over to the Columbia County District Attorney, who determined no criminal charges will be brought against the officer involved.