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A historic high-speed chase from Gotham to Muscoda
Random Thoughts, February 2
Random Thoughts by Wendell Smith

MUSCODA - TV news channels often carry stories about high-speed chases, some ending in tragedy. Muscoda has a high-speed chase in its history, occurring more than 60 years ago. If you read about it, you may think about the old CHiPs (California Highway Patrol) program that’s still available on Antenna TV.

The local chase started at 1 a.m. near Riverview Gardens, adjacent to Highway 60 between Muscoda and Gotham. At that location a Richland County traffic officer began the chase after a speeding car. It stretched west to the Highways 60 and 80 junction, traveling at speeds from 70 to 100 miles per hour on the left-hand side of the road. Fortunately, no east-bound vehicles were met.

At the highway junction the speeder turned south, going across the Wisconsin River on the narrow Muscoda bridge, clocked at 70 mph. Muscoda officer Al Audetat got involved in the chase as it came into Muscoda.

At the northwest corner of the St. John’s Church block, the speeder turned west and the Richland County officer lost control and ended up in the churchyard, out of the chase. The speeder turned south on Iowa Street, at 70 mph until it met Grant County Trunk C (now Highway 133) and headed west toward Blue River.

Officer Audetat reported the chase traveled at speeds up to 100 mph. However, when the speeder tried to make a turn near the Kovars chicken farm east of Blue River while traveling 90 mph, “he began to whip around on the sleet covered road and slowed down to about 50 miles mph.”

It was at that time Jim Johnsud, riding with Audetat, shot out the back tire of the speeder’s car with a shotgun blast and brought it to a halt.

Officers were in the process of setting up a roadblock in Blue River but the speeder stopped before he reached the village.

The driver of the speeding car was taken to Lancaster where he was released on a $275 bail, facing two speeding charges, a reckless driving charge, failure to obey an officer and improper passing.