Glenrock Man Arrested For DWUI After High-Speed Chase; Suspect Crashes Into Several Vehicles But No Injuries
A Glenrock man lead officers from several law enforcement agencies on a high speed chase from Casper to Glenrock on Sunday night before a Natrona County Sheriff's deputy rammed his vehicle to stop him, according to court records.
During his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Monday, Frank Banzhaf, 33, was charged with one misdemeanor count of attempting to elude a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of driving while under the influence.
Judge Steven Brown set his bond at $2,500.
An affidavit filed in circuit court stated Banzhaf was charged initially with a felony DWUI because of three prior convictions, but that was changed to two resulting in the misdemeanor charge, Natrona County Sheriff's Sgt. Aaron Shatto said.
However, Converse County Sheriff Clint Becker said the county attorney's office will be filing other charges including attempted aggravated assault. Other agencies involved included the Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Glenrock Police Department, he said.
The incident started at 9:40 p.m. Sunday when an apparently intoxicated Banzhaf left Old Chicago on East Second Street without paying his bill. Restaurant staff stopped him in the parking lot where he paid up. Staff then contacted law enforcement.
Sheriff's Sgt. Steven Leete was near Hat Six Road when he heard the report and traveled west on East Second Street, saw Banzhaf's vehicle traveling eastbound, turned around and caught up to the pickup.
Banzhaf failed to stop at Hat Six Road, turned north and drove in the southbound lane.
The deputy activated his on-board camera and turned on his overhead lights.
Banzhaf turned east on U.S. Highway 20-26 (the Old Glenrock Highway), accelerated to speeds over 95 mph, turned on a road west of Glenrock, turned around, struck Leete's patrol truck, returned to the highway, and sped through Glenrock at a high rate of speed.
Banzhaf stopped his pickup east of town where officers ordered him to shut off his engine and put his hands outside the window.
Banzhaf punched the accelerator, drove to Interstate 25, headed back to Casper at a high rate of speed, then slowed.
A police vehicle pulled ahead of Banzhaf's pickup, but Banzhaf accelerated and sideswiped the police car.
He left the highway at the north I-25 Glenrock exit, went through the interchange and took the on-ramp to southbound I-25, hit a Wyoming Highway Patrol car, and was about to head north in the southbound lane.
"Due to the immediate danger posed by the fleeing suspect vehicle, Sgt. Leete rammed the suspect vehicle with his patrol truck in a head-on type collision," according to the affidavit. "A Converse County Deputy also rammed his vehicle of the driver's door of the suspect vehicle."
That stopped Banzhaf's pickup, but it didn't stop Banzhaf's behavior while he was sitting inside it.
He flipped off Leete and the Converse County deputy after they ordered him to comply.
Leete broke the passenger side window of the pickup and again ordered Banzhaf to put his hands on the steering wheel.
Banzhaf flipped him off again.
So Leete sprayed him with pepper spray, and another officer shot him with a Taser.
Banzhaf then put his hands on the steering wheel, but he wouldn't move to the passenger side.
Leete entered the pickup and pulled Banzhaf across the seat and then to the ground where Leete and another officer handcuffed him.
Banzhaf was taken to the Wyoming Medical Center and treated for minor injuries.
Despite at least three crashes involving law enforcement vehicles, no officers were injured.