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A trip to store leads to police chase

Passengers leap from vehicle as it was fleeing police

Jan. 31, 2012

Waukesha - A ride to a grocery store ended up being a horrifying trip for two women who had to leap out of a moving truck driven by a man who tried to elude police throughout the Waukesha downtown area Jan. 6.

The driver of the truck, Eric R. Dollar, 32, of Waukesha, told police he had to get away from them as there was a warrant out for his arrest, according to the criminal complaint filed Jan. 9 in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Dollar was charged with felony counts of attempting to flee or elude an officer and two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment.

According to the complaint:

Peggy Sue Rakowski and Anna M. Reilly, were getting a ride to a grocery store at about 8:23 p.m. when Dollar noticed a squad car behind him. A Waukesha officer saw the small pickup truck at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue and the truck went on the wrong side of the raised island so the truck was facing oncoming traffic. The officer followed the truck and it accelerated and drove through a red light at West Broadway and North Barstow.

The officer pursued the truck which went through red lights, one time nearly causing four vehicles to crash. As Dollar tried to elude police, Reilly said she yelled at Dollar to stop and let her out several times. Dollar said "I'm (expletive). I'm wanted," Reilly recalled Dollar saying. Reilly said she tried opening the passenger door a few times but it kept swinging shut due to the way Dollar was driving.

Rakowski told police she too told Dollar to stop.

"Rakowski believes she was going to die, and believed it would be safer to jump from the truck than to remain inside," the complaint said. Reilly also said she believed she was going to be killed.

As the truck turned east on McCall Street, it slowed enough for Reilly to open the door and Reilly and Rakowski jumped out. Both women suffered cuts and scrapes to their knees, hips and hands.

Rakowski told police "this is the scariest thing she has ever experienced and that she was happy to be alive," the complaint said.

The complaint continued:

Dollar continued to drive on and reached a speed of 80 mph on McCall Street near Hartwell Avenue. Dollar drove the wrong way on Sunset Drive, disregarded traffic lights, and then drove the wrong way on Riviera Drive and then drove over a curb at Coronado Street, up onto a lawn and the truck nearly struck a house.

Frank Schwager of 2034 Coronado St., told police he heard tires squealing and when he looked out his window saw the truck come through the intersection and feared the vehicle was going to hit his house, the complaint said.

A bush on the side of the house acted as a cushion preventing the truck from hitting the house, police noted.

Dollar got out of the truck and ran off but was caught by police in a dead end street, the complaint said.

Dollar told police that he had taken a Vicodin pill that day and drank beer and two shots at a bar, the complaint said. A preliminary breath test showed Dollar had an alcohol content of 0.039, which is under the level of 0.08 which is considered evidence of intoxication in adult drivers in Wisconsin.

Dollar was charged in April 2010 with a criminal traffic offense of driving without a valid driver's license, his second such offense. According to court records, Dollar did not appear in court in May 2010 and a warrant was issued. As a condition of his $300 signature bond, Dollar was not to drive a vehicle unless he was properly licensed.

Dollar is being held in Waukesha County Jail on $10,000 cash bail and is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 3 for a hearing.

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