EAU CLAIRE — An Eau Claire man drove his car into the outside of a business and then tried to elude police by trekking through a wooded area on Friday night.
Aaron M. Trumble, 36, 1827 Whipple St., faces four charges and a few traffic citations in Eau Claire County Court tied to dangerous driving in the parking lot of Phillips Medisize, 2930 Mondovi Road.
Among the charges is a felony count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety for nearly striking an employee in the parking lot and having a passenger in his vehicle when it crashed into the building. That charge alone carries the potential for up to 10 years in prison.
Other charges Trumble faces are for criminal damage to property and two counts of bail jumping. Traffic citations were issued to Trumble for hit and run, having an open container of alcohol in his car and operating without a license.
Judge John Manydeeds set bond at $6,000 cash during Trumble’s initial court appearance on Monday. Prosecutors asked for that sizable amount based on Trumble missing court dates for other cases and his dangerous behavior, according to online court records.
Trumble’s next scheduled court date is a preliminary hearing on Tuesday(Oct. 19).
According to the criminal complaint:
Officers responded to multiple calls made by employees at 11 p.m. Friday about a car that struck the Phillips Medisize building on Eau Claire’s southwest side.
When officers arrived on the scene, the vehicle was stuck and the driver had already fled. Eyewitnesses gave a description of the driver and the direction he’d fled, which was north toward the Chippewa Valley Technical College Diesel Education Center.
While combing the area an officer spotted light from a cellphone someone was carrying while walking through a wooded area nearby. That officer went to the light’s location, but it was gone by the time he got there.
An Eau Claire Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted Trumble running from a recreational trail near Clairemont Avenue at about 1:12 a.m. and arrested the man.
During the search, a woman called police to tell them that Trumble had gone to pick her up after her shift at the business.
She said when she got into the car, Trumble was passed out behind the wheel with his foot on the brake. The woman had difficulty waking Trumble, ultimately shaking him.
When he woke, Trumble put the car into gear and accelerated through the parking lot.
He barely missed hitting an employee, based on security camera footage, and then drove into steel posts for an awning over the employee entrance.
The woman saw an open container of Twisted Tea — an alcoholic iced tea drink — in the car, which officers found in the center console.
Following his arrest, Trumble admitted to an Eau Claire police officer that he had hit the building.
At the time of the crash, Trumble was out on bond for two pending cases for alleged domestic abuse.