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Man arrested for pointing gun in road rage incident on Highway 29

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Todd Pranke

Todd W. Pranke

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- A 56-year-old Wausau man was arrested Saturday after pointing a gun at a man in a road rage incident on Highway 29 near Abbotsford on Saturday afternoon. 

Todd Pranke, 56, is charged with second degree recklessly endangering safety, negligent handling of a weapon and disorderly conduct. Pranke faces more than 10 years in jail and $46,000 in fines. 

The 35-year-old complainant said he used his windshield wipers and washer fluid to clean a bug off the windshield. Pranke was following behind his vehicle in his truck and drove through the mist of fluid. 

Pranke passed the man at a high rate of speed, got in front of the complainant's vehicle and slammed on the brakes while spraying windshield washer fluid, according to the complaint. 

To get away from Pranke, the complainant sped up and passed him. As he passed him, Franke allegedly pointed a gun at the man.

Police later conducted a stop on Pranke who pulled into the Kwik Trip parking lot on Highway 52 and 28th Ave. in Wausau, according to the report. 

According to the report, Pranke said he was returning from Winona, Minn. and when he was getting on Highway 29 at Highway 73 on-ramp in Clark County a vehicle cut him off. Near Abbotsford Pranke said the man slowed to 55 mph and when he past him the man "misted" him with wiper fluid. At this time is where Pranke allegedly pointed the gun at the man. 

Pranke told police he didn't pull a gun, but a cell phone to either "call the cops or record him." Pranke did say he had a gun in the car, but it was in his zipped cooler in the back. 

Upon looking, officers found the gun, but the cooler was unzipped and made the gun easily accessible, the report stated. In a follow-up conversation, the complainant stated he was positive it was a gun. The report states, the complainant said "(he) had the gun in his right hand, rested it on his left bicep to display it, then squared off and pointed it directly at (my) face."