Vehicle fleeing traffic stop crashed into 2 law enforcement vehicles on Beltline

All lanes reopened as of 2:25 p.m., WisDOT says

MADISON, Wis. — A driver crashed into two law enforcement vehicles Thursday afternoon while trying to escape during a vehicle chase on the westbound Beltline, causing traffic backups that stretched past Highway 51.

Madison Police Department spokesperson Hunter Lisko initially said the vehicle that hit the squad cars was stolen but later clarified it in fact was not. Officials said the crash happened as multiple law enforcement agencies were trying to locate stolen vehicles in the area as part of a “proactive traffic operation.”

Two MPD officers were injured in the crash and were hospitalized as a precaution, but both are expected to recover. Two WSP officers were seen at a local hospital as a precaution but were uninjured, according to WisDOT.

According to WisDOT, the crash — which happened around 12:11 p.m. between the West Broadway and John Nolen Drive exits — happened after a WSP trooper tried to stop a vehicle that was driving in the closed Flex Lane. The driver reportedly refused to stop and hit the MPD squad car on the driver’s side before hitting the WSP cruiser.

Authorities said the suspect then got out of their vehicle and ran away before trying to carjack a taxi that was parked at a nearby business. The suspect was taken into custody a short time later, though officials have not detailed what charges the individual might face.

The crash closed the three left lanes of the Beltline for just over two hours; WisDOT’s 511 website showed backups stretching past Highway 51. As of 2:25 p.m., all lanes had reopened.

Because MPD officers were involved in the crash, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and Wisconsin State Patrol will handle the remainder of the investigation. Any announcements about charges against the suspect will come from Wisconsin State Patrol.

In total, the four-hour traffic operation ended with multiple arrests and the recovery of two guns, a stolen vehicle and a “significant amount” of controlled substances, according to the sheriff’s office.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story reported that the vehicle that crashed into the MPD squad car was stolen; a department spokesperson and WisDOT officials later said the vehicle involved in the crash was not stolen.