By Shereen Siewert
Jurors have convicted a 57-year-old man who intentionally drove his vehicle into a police officer before leading police on a 10-mile high speed chase.
Dan W. Willison, of Curtiss, was charged in July 2015 with first degree recklessly endangering safety, felony bail jumping, fleeing an officer, fifth offense operating while intoxicated, operating with a prohibited alcohol concentration, and operating a vehicle with a revoked license.
The charges stem from an incident that unfolded on May 2, 2019 when Colby-Abbotsford Police Officer Kyle Jolin received an anonymous complaint about Willison, who was wanted by police on two warrants. The caller requested a welfare check of a relative who was in a relationship with Willison and was staying with him at the Home Motel, 412 N. Fourth St., Abbotsford.
Jolin, who had seen a photo of Willison and was aware he drove dark-colored PT Cruiser, responded to the motel and spotted the vehicle with Willison sitting in the driver’s seat smoking a cigarette with the window down. Jolin approached the vehicle with his flashlight on and his service weapon drawn, announcing himself as a police officer. That’s when WIllison stepped on the gas and struck Jolin, pushing him onto the hood of his vehicle.
Jolin later told DCI investigators he held onto the hood fearing that if he fell off, he wouldn’t survive being run over by the vehicle.
With his gun in his left hand and holding the hood with his right, Jolin fired one round through the windshield before rolling off the vehicle on the driver’s side. At that point, investigators say, Jolin fired one more shot at Willison toward the driver’s side door.
Body cam footage shows these events transpired in just four seconds.
Court documents state that Willison fled from the Home Motel at a high rate of speed, northbound on Hwy. 13, where a Clark County deputy took up the chase. The pursuit spanned 10 miles with speeds in excess of 100 mph, including a path through the village of Milan in a 25 mph zone, police said.
Willison eventually turned westbound on Hwy. 29 in Marathon County before turning onto the shoulder, abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on foot into a corn field adjacent to the highway, police said. Both Jolin and the Clark County deputy continued to pursue Willison, and he was eventually caught.
Blood drawn from Willison shows he had a blood alcohol concentration of .184 percent shortly after the incident. Willison, who was shot in the left upper chest, was taken to a hospital for treatment and survived his injuries.
Jury selection began on Tuesday with a trial expected to stretch through Thursday. But attorneys on both sides wrapped up their closing arguments just after noon on Wednesday.
Jurors deliberated for just one hour before finding Willison guilty on all charges.
Marathon County Circuit Judge Mike Moran immediately revoked Willison’s bond and ordered a presentencing investigation be completed. Willison is now facing up to 44 years in the Wisconsin Prison System.
A date for sentencing has not yet been set.