Police lights

A 36-year-old man faces several charges tied to leading an Eau Claire police officer on a short chase early Sunday on Clairemont Avenue.

Ismael Ramirez-Martinez, 2313 Golf Road, was charged Monday in Eau Claire County Court with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, attempting to flee an officer and operating without a drivers license.

The most severe of those, the endangering safety charge, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if found guilty.

Ramirez-Martinez also received seven traffic citations — including drunken driving — for the chase that happened at about 2:20 a.m. on Sunday.

According to the criminal complaint, an Eau Claire police officer driving on Clairemont Avenue was passed by a vehicle traveling in excess of 70 mph. The officer followed and turned on his squad car's flashing lights, but the driver didn't immediately stop and continued at high speed, occasionally drifting between lanes. Near the London Road intersection, the driver slammed on the car's brakes and the officer driving behind him had to do the same to avoid a crash.

After Ramirez-Martinez stopped his vehicle, the officer smelled alcohol on his breath, noticed his bloodshot and watery eyes, and had him take sobriety tests. Ramirez-Martinez failed the tests, had difficulty speaking in both English and Spanish, and officers had to help him stand without falling.

Ramirez-Martinez's blood-alcohol content was 0.172 — more than twice the 0.08 limit for legally driving in Wisconsin.