MENOMONIE — Law enforcement officers described losing contact with Rusk County sheriff’s Deputy Dan Glaze the night of Oct. 29, 2016, and their frantic efforts to reach and locate him, during the opening day of Doug S. Nitek’s murder trial.
Nitek, 45, is accused of shooting and killing Glaze while Glaze sat in his squad car in the Rusk County town of Willard, south of Ladysmith. The trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks, began Tuesday in Dunn County Court in Menomonie. The jury, selected Monday in Ladysmith, is sequestered and staying in the Menomonie area through the duration of the trial.
Nitek is charged with 31 counts stemming from the shooting, including first-degree intentional homicide, attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety while armed with a dangerous weapon, criminal damage to property, possession of drug paraphernalia and bail jumping. Nitek, dressed in blue jeans and a blue-and-white plaid shirt, sat at a table alongside his attorneys, not wearing handcuffs or any restraints. Formerly of Conrath, Nitek, since the shooting, has been incarcerated at Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun.
The jury saw photos of Glaze’s squad car, with several bullet holes visible.
Gina Olson, a Rusk County deputy for the past 17 years, works in the jail and dispatch center. Olson was communicating with Glaze on the county’s radio system shortly before the shooting occurred. Glaze informed her he was checking on a suspicious vehicle shortly before 11 p.m. He later called and asked for backup.
Olson testified that she stopped receiving updates from Glaze, so she and other deputies tried to contact him, first on radio, but got no answer.
We tried to reach his work cell. We tried a status check to see if he’s OK,” Olson said. “Usually, if everything is fine, they’ll say ‘10-2,’ which means everything is OK. But we didn’t hear anything.”
Olson also described hearing a call later in the evening of “shots fired” over the radio, after other deputies arrived at the scene..
The audio of the call from Glaze to the dispatch center was played in the courtroom. The jury heard Glaze describe seeing a suspicious car on Broken Arrow Road, and that he was going to check on it.
Rusk County jailer/dispatcher Ryan Tuma testified about leaving his post in the jail to assist Olson in trying to reach Glaze on the phone, calling it frequently.
“It would just continuously ring until it goes to voice mail,” Tuma said.
At that point, officers were sent to the scene to check on Glaze. They found him dead inside his squad car.
Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Derek Hanson testified about measuring and mapping the crime scene after Nitek had been arrested. Hanson said a red truck — used by Nitek — had been making “doughnuts” in the field.
“There were different tire marks that all belonged to one vehicle,” Hanson said.
Glaze’s wife, Sarah Glaze, sat in the courtroom throughout the hearing Tuesday. She was the first to testify, telling the jury about her husband.
The criminal complaint states that Nitek was about 168 yards from Glaze when he shot and killed the officer, as Glaze was still sitting behind the wheel of his squad car. Up to six shots were fired at Glaze, including the fatal one that struck Glaze in his head. More officers arrived at W7958 Broken Arrow Road, east of Highway 27, and Nitek fired shots at multiple officers.
Nitek eventually surrendered, leaving a trailer home from which he shot at officers. Inside the trailer, officers found a rifle and bullet casings, along with fresh bullet holes. Officers also found a small baggie containing methamphetamine and a pipe.
DNA samples were taken from the rifle, scope, stock pad, which rests on the shoulder when firing a weapon, and sling. All matched to Nitek.
The trial resumes at 8 a.m. today. It is expected to continue on weekends.