Eau Claire man arrested after pursuit in stolen U-Haul

Luke Shilts
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:53 PM CST
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BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - An Eau Claire man is arrested after a pursuit in a stolen U-Haul.

A criminal complaint shows 34-year-old Luke Shilts is facing charges of attempting to flee or elude an officer, second degree recklessly endangering safety, possession of methamphetamine, possession of thc (tetrahydrocannabinols) -2nd and subsequent offense, misdemeanor retail theft -intentionally take (<= $500) and possession of methamphetamine.

According to the criminal complaint, a sergeant with the City of Rice Lake Police Department reports on Jan. 30, 2023 around 2:33 p.m., Rice Lake Officers received an alert of a stolen vehicle from a camera system installed on the city streets of the City of Rice Lake that checks the license plates of passing vehicles for wanted status. The sergeant reported he viewed the image and plate number and drove toward the camera location on County Highway O in an attempt to find the vehicle. Barron County Dispatch confirmed the wanted status of the license plate on a U-Haul van, and said the vehicle was stolen out of the City of Eau Claire.

The criminal complaint says authorities found the U-Haul van in the Kohl’s parking lot in the City of Rice Lake. At the time it was unoccupied. Two men walked to the van and the one got into the driver’s seat. As the men closed the doors on the van, officers drove towards the van.

According to the criminal complaint, the van maneuvered around patrol cars at high speed. Authorities began pursuing the van with the emergency lights and sirens activated. The entirety of the pursuit from the Kohl’s parking lot, in the City of Rice Lake, to the location where the van came a stop, in the Village of Dallas, occurred in Barron County. At one point the van travelled at 90 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour.

The criminal complaint says the driver, identified as Shilts, and his passenger were taken into custody. A sergeant searched Shilts and found a gem baggie in the coat that Shilts was wearing. The substance in the baggie was field tested and tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities found during a search of the U-Haul a bag of a “green, leafy plant material” that field tested positive for the presence of THC, a digital scale with a “white crystalline residue”, another suspected digital scale, and “many” hypodermic needles, some of which had “observable crystalline residue and others with observable liquid in the tube.”