By Shereen Siewert
The incident unfolded just after 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28 when a Lincoln County Deputy pulled over the driver of a vehicle in Tomahawk whose plates did not match the vehicle. The registered owner, police said, had a revoked driving status.
The driver, identified as 54-year-old James Gallup, of La Crosse, pulled into a gas station at the intersection of Hwy. 51 and Hwy. 86, then gave the deputy a false identity before allegedly spraying him in the face and incapacitating him. Police say the substance was likely a bear spray or highly concentrated pepper spray.
He then allegedly fled the scene of the traffic stop southbound on Hwy. 51. Tomahawk EMS responded to that location to treat the incapacitated Deputy.
A second deputy pursued the driver southbound at speeds in excess of 95 mph until additional deputies deployed tire deflation devices. The driver continued to flee, police said, reaching speeds of more than 70 mph even after all four tires were deflated. After turning westbound on Lincoln Drive, the driver proceeded to the dead end of the road, east of County Road JJ in the town of Merrill, before coming to a stop in the yard of a private residence, police said.
When the pursuing deputies attempted to take the suspect into custody, the suspect allegedly sprayed one of the four deputies in the face and incapacitated him as well.
The three remaining deputies took the man into custody just as the vehicle he was driving started on fire and became engulfed in flames. Merrill Fire Department personnel responded to and extinguished the fire and treated the second incapacitated deputy.
Gallup had his initial court appearance on Oct. 29 and faces charges of battery or threat to a judge or law enforcement officer, intentional use of an Oleoresin device on an officer, misappropriation of identification information to avoid a felony, fleeing an officer and first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
He is being held on a $50,000 cash bond.