PRESS RELEASE: Reckless driving citations issued after video - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

PRESS RELEASE: Reckless driving citations issued after video posted on YouTube

LAKE HALLIE (PRESS RELEASE) - On Thursday, April 15, 2010, two motorcycle operators were stopped after being observed by a Lake Hallie Police Officer to be operating at a high rate of speed. The violation was observed to occur on Business 53 near 27th Avenue which is in the area of the Lake Hallie Markquart Motors. Officer Dan Sokup observed the motorcycles northbound on Business 53 and notified other police units in the area.

The motorcycles were then stopped by Lake Hallie Officers and identified. The defendants were explained to that they violated the traffic control signal and were exceeding the speed limit. Two citations for these violations were issued to each operator and they were then released.  

On the same day, April 15, 2010, a YouTube video was posted on the Internet showing the drivers, their motorcycle operation and the recorded dialogue between the defendants and the Lake Hallie Officer. The one driver admitted to driving faster than the speed limit, and the Officer informed them that he guessed that they were driving in excess of 80 mph. The video flashes the amount of "120mph+…." on the screen. The video also shows that the motorcycles did not violate a red light traffic signal as the officer claimed. The video shows the traffic signal to be yellow.

Wisconsin Statutes 346.37(1)(b) reads that when a traffic signal is "Yellow", the following should take place. "When shown with or following the green, traffic facing a yellow signal shall stop before entering the intersection unless so close to it that a stop may not be made in safety." The Lake Hallie Police believe that while it appears the operators have violated the traffic control signal statute, one could argue that due to their reckless excessive speed they were so close to the intersection that the stop could not have been made safely. For that reason the "Traffic Signal" violation will be dismissed and a Reckless Driving violation will be issued in its place. The new charge adds an additional fine of $214.50 and 3 additional points for each operator. Each operator has now been issued citations totaling the amount of $602.50 and 10 traffic points.

The YouTube video indicates the following, "April 15, 2010 — Midwest Muscle presents another Twisted Metal Production - GoPro HD camera, stopped by the cops" and the link was http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2J0ZflJv3o&feature=player_embedded  This link has since been removed.

I (Chief Smokowicz) do not understand why someone would commit illegal violations and then post their actions on the Internet. Our highways are dangerous enough with the routine traffic volume and do not need operators driving reckless just for the thrill of making a video. That is what Amusement and Theme Parks are for. A majority of motorcycle operators are responsible and safe drivers.

The defendants in this matter did not seem aware of the fact that during their traffic contact, the Village of Lake Hallie was participating in a State Funded traffic enforcement project for the purpose of reducing accidents by the use of "Saturation Patrols" (Saturation Patrols meaning a traffic detail with 3 or more squads). This project was awarded to the Village in part due to the large number of accidents in the same area that the defendants were recording their actions.

Cited was Michael J. Kosakoski age 24 (camera operator) Town of Eagle Point and Shawn R. Wilson age 18 of the Town of Tilden. The subjects were co-operative during the contact.

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