Friday, March 5, 2021

Racine alderman charged with felony for allegedly fleeing from police; plans to plead not guilty

From The Journal

RACINE — The Racine City Council member who has been accused of drunken driving and attempting to speed away from Caledonia Police Department officers who were attempting to pull him over was in court on Thursday for his first appearance.

Edwin Santiago, 35, plans to plead not guilty to felony fleeing/eluding an officer. According to a criminal complaint, he denied at the scene that he was speeding in excess of 80 mph as was alleged, that he wasn’t trying to outrun police, and that he had not had a drink in several hours despite failing field sobriety tests and a preliminary breath test showing he was above the limit.

In Wisconsin, anyone convicted of a felony cannot hold public office. As such, if convicted, Santiago would have to give up his seat, representing Racine’s Fourth District.

A preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. on March 18. Attorney Patrick Cafferty represented the defendant in court.

The criminal complaint

The Racine County District Attorney’s Office filed the criminal complaint associated with the case on March 3.

According to the criminal complaint, Sgt. Michael Trongeau of the Caledonia Police Department first observed the vehicle being driven by Santiago headed south on Douglas Avenue at 1:27 a.m. on Feb. 20 near Saint Rita’s Road, just south of Four Mile Road.

Using the in-squad moving radar, Trongeau clocked Santiago’s vehicle traveling at 53 mph in a 35 mph zone, at which point Trongeau reported that he turned his vehicle “around to go after the subject vehicle.”

The officer indicated he observed Santiago “change lanes without signaling in front of another southbound vehicle.”

“The subject vehicle appeared to have greatly increased its speed and was pulling away from (Trongeau) and the other vehicle at an astounding rate,” the criminal complaint noted. The sergeant advised dispatch of the potential that a vehicle was fleeing, at which point he activated his lights and sirens.

According to the complaint, Santiago’s vehicle “did not react in any way” to the lights and sirens and was then traveling at approximately 80 mph in a 35 mph zone; Trongeau indicated he reached 84 mph while pursuing Santiago.

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