Father, son to stand trial together in chase case

Judge denies son’s motion to sever cases, chides father for comments
Ozaukee Press staff

A Port Washington man who is defending himself against a charge that he helped his son escape a police officer during a Jan. 15 chase was admonished by a judge last week and warned not to make inappropriate statements during his trial in August.

In stating his appearance for the court record during a hearing in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, Ross A. Larsson said, “Ross Larsson here under threats of violence.”

Larsson, 49, and his son, Kelvyn R. Larsson, 24, are charged as codefendants, and District Attorney Adam Gerol and Judge John Storck surmised that remarks made by the father prompted the son’s attorney to ask that the cases be severed and each defendant be tried separately.

“Ross Larsson seems to want to advance pseudo sovereign citizen notions,” Gerol said, adding that Larsson’s son may be concerned that such ideas will cast aspersions on him.

Storck, a reserve judge filling in for Ozaukee County Judge Joseph Voiland, said, “I think the concern is that his (the father’s) inappropriate statements will taint the jury’s impression of not only the father but also his son. I think his son feels he will be prejudiced by his father’s statements.”

Turning his attention to the elder Ross and referring to his comment about appearing under threat of violence, Storck said, “That is inappropriate. There’s no threat of violence here.

“I strongly encourage you to get an attorney.”

Larsson responded, “I only speak the truth. If you think the truth is inappropriate, I don’t know how to curtail myself.”

Gerol argued against the motion to sever the case, saying the actions of both men were part of the same incident that resulted in charges against both of them. Two jury trials would be expensive and inefficient and are not warranted, he said. 

But Kelvyn Larsson’s lawyer, Mike Penkwitz, said his client’s constitutional right to a fair trial should trump concerns about cost and efficiency, adding that he is concerned that statements made by the father could unfairly affect the son.

Storck denied the motion, meaning father and son are to stand trial together beginning on Aug. 13.

A motion made by Ross Larsson to dismiss the charges against him, apparently on the grounds that a police officer entered his home illegally the night of the chase, was also dismissed by the judge. 

That decision came after Port Washington police officer Kirstin Moertl testified that she was on routine traffic patrol at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, when she ran the registration of a car on South Spring Street.

When records showed that the owner of the car did not have a driver’s license, she attempted to pull the vehicle over. But instead of stopping, the driver of the car, Kelvyn Larsson, turned onto Grand Avenue, drove west “very fast,” then turned onto North Garfield Avenue and into the driveway of his parents’ home, Moertl said. 

Kelvyn Larsson got out of the car and, defying Moertl’s orders to stop, ran toward the house, she said, adding that she grabbed him by the jacket.

“I was struggling with him,” Moertl testified. “I had pulled out my Taser. Then a male subject grabbed him (Larsson) and pulled him inside the house.”

According to the criminal complaint, the man who pulled Kelvyn Larsson into the house was Ross Larsson, and Moertl said that Ross Larsson then slammed the door on her. 

Moertl called for backup, and as other officers were arriving, Ross Larsson walked outside, sat on a ledge and began shouting at officers, telling them to “get off his (expletive) property,” according to the complaint. He was arrested.

After obtaining a warrant, Moertl searched the house looking for Kelvyn Larsson and a shoulder bag he was carrying. The officer found no signs of either, but talked to Larsson’s mother, who said her son was just coming home from work and had done nothing wrong, the complaint states.

A warrant was issued for Kelvyn Larsson’s arrest, and by Thursday, Jan. 17, he was in custody, according to court records.

Amy Larsson, who was called to testify by her husband Ross Larsson during last week’s hearing, said her husband was not near the door when her son burst into the house, and that neither she nor her husband knew what was going on. 

“Someone came flying in and I saw a gun pointed at me,” Mrs. Larsson testified, presumably referring to Moertl’s Taser.

Ross Larsson said, “If her (Moertl’s) body wasn’t in my house, her gun was. That’s what I closed the door on — a gun in my house.”

Ross Larsson played a video from Moertl’s body camera that appeared to show her and Kelvyn Larsson struggling as he ran into the house. Kelvyn Larsson could be heard yelling for help and shouting “Why are you touching me?”

In the video, Gerol noticed that Mrs. Larsson, seen standing just inside the doorway to the house, was holding a cell phone with the screen on.

“Who were you on the phone with when this happened?” Gerol asked her.

Mrs. Larsson said she didn’t recall. 

“Isn’t it a fact you received a call from your son saying the police were after him?” Gerol asked.

Mrs. Larsson replied, “Not that I recall.”

Kelvyn Larsson is charged with one felony count of attempting to flee an officer and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. 

Ross Larsson is charged with obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.  


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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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