2 children killed in 'horrific' crash during police pursuit: Authorities

The vehicle rolled over after the driver fled a traffic stop, authorities said.

December 21, 2023, 4:39 PM

Two 10-year-old boys were killed in a "horrific" rollover wreck after the driver of their vehicle fled a traffic stop and crashed following a law enforcement pursuit, authorities said.

The incident occurred shortly before midnight Wednesday in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

A Waukesha County deputy attempted a traffic stop in the city of Pewaukee around 11:49 p.m. local time on a vehicle that was speeding and had no plates displayed, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.

The driver of the vehicle initially stopped but then fled "at a high rate of speed" before the deputy was able to make contact with the driver, Waukesha County Sheriff's Department Deputy Inspector Patrick Esser told reporters during a press briefing Thursday.

Two deputies pursued the vehicle a "short distance" before it crashed and rolled over, Esser said. No other vehicles were involved.

The vehicle crashed in the town of Delafield, about 3 miles from the initial traffic stop, according to cross streets provided by the sheriff's department.

Six people from Milwaukee -- two adults and four children -- were in the vehicle at the time of the crash, authorities said.

Authorities said two 10-year-old boys were killed after a vehicle being pursued by sheriff's deputies crashed in Delafield, Wisconsin, on Dec. 20, 2023.

The driver -- a 29-year-old man -- is hospitalized in critical but stable condition, authorities said. His 29-year-old girlfriend is hospitalized in stable condition.

The driver's two 10-year-old sons were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. The driver's 6-year-old daughter and 14-year-old niece are hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.

Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson called the crash "horrific" but "preventable."

"The fact that two children lost their lives this morning as the result of really bad decision-making is very saddening to all of us," he said.

The driver had a warrant out for his arrest on the charge of felon in possession of a firearm and will likely face multiple charges stemming from the traffic stop and crash, the sheriff said.

Severson said he asked the Washington County Sheriff's Department to conduct a review of the crash in an effort to be transparent, and that his office will also be looking to review their chase policy and procedures.

The preliminary information shows that the sheriff's deputies involved did not violate any laws and "did their job right," he said.

"When law enforcement officers get involved in pursuits it's because people choose to elude us," Severson said. "We don't take any actions that would provoke somebody to run from us."

The length of time of the pursuit will be released following the investigation, Esser said.