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Man charged with reckless race through school zone PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 21:08

Port driver who is accused of speeding away from cop, forcing cars off road in Fredonia faces two felonies

A 32-year-old Port Washington man accused of leading a deputy on a chase, then forcing other drivers off the road as he sped through residential neighborhoods and a school zone in Fredonia last week has been charged with two felonies in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Erik H. Pantle faces counts of attempting to flee an officer and second-degree recklessly endangering safety. Because Pantle was convicted of a felony in 2011, he is now charged as a repeat offender and would face additional penalties if convicted.

PantleAccording to the criminal complaint, at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, Ozaukee County Sheriff’s deputy Matthew Haas was driving on Highway H between Port Washington and Fredonia when he saw a speeding Dodge Grand Caravan heading west.

Haas, whose radar indicated the minivan was traveling at 81 mph in a 55 mph zone, turned around and began following the vehicle, which he later learned was driven by Pantle. The deputy said Pantle accelerated to more than 100 mph as he followed him with his emergency lights and siren on, the complaint states.

Pantle entered the Village of Fredonia on Martin Drive, blew a stop sign at Highland Drive and sped past the Northern Ozaukee School District campus at 45 mph, according to Haas, who stopped chasing Pantle because they were in a residential area and school zone.

Haas lost sight of the minivan, but as he continued driving west he saw several vehicle that were forced off the road by Pantle.

At about the same time, authorities received 911 calls from several drivers, including one woman who recorded the license place of the minivan and said the driver was a white man with a gray sweatshirt with the hood covering his head.

Authorities traced the minivan to Pantle’s finacee, who lives in Port Washington. She said Pantle, who usually takes Highway H to his landscaping job in Kewaskum, is the only person who had access to her vehicle, the complaint states.

At the request of Haas, the woman called Pantle, then had him talk to the deputy. Pantle admitted he was driving the minivan that morning and said although he typically takes Highway H, he took a different route that morning, according to the complaint.

“I have a hypothetical scenario for you,” Pantle told the deputy. He went on to say that if he had been driving the minivan and sped away from the deputy, he would be “going away for a long time” since he is on probation, the complaint states.

Pantle was arrested later that day at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections probation and parole office in Saukville.

During a court hearing last week, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams set Pantle’s bail at $5,000.

Attempting to flee an officer carries a maximum penalty of 1-1/2 years in prison and two years of extended supervision. Second-degree recklessly endangering safety is punishable by five years in prison and five years of extended supervision. 

If convicted, Pantle would face an additional four years for each count because he was convicted of a felony in July 2011 for using his grandfather’s charge card to make more than $10,000 in purchases, according to court records.