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'Help me, help me,' woman mouthed to trooper after traffic incident

Javonte J. Miles

Authorities arrested a teenager outside Hudson last week after the SUV he was in lurched across Interstate 94 traffic into a ditch, where an officer found a woman inside mouthing the words "help me, help me."

The woman later told officers the suspect, her passenger, said he "would rather be handicapped" before grabbing the steering wheel, eventually overpowering her and sending the vehicle into the ditch.

St. Croix County prosecutors later charged 19-year-old Javonte J. Miles with one count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of more than 12 years in prison. The West Fargo, N.D., man was initially held on a $500 cash bond during his initial court appearance Oct. 9. St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman reduced that amount to a signature bond at a Friday hearing.

According to a criminal complaint:

A Wisconsin State Patrol trooper responded around 3 p.m. Oct. 8 to the center median on I-94 in the town of Hudson where a Kia Sedona was stopped, pointed westbound. The trooper approached the driver, who he saw mouthing the words "help me, help me, help me," the complaint states.

The trooper called for a St. Croix County sheriff's deputy after learning the woman had been involved in a domestic incident with the passenger.

The passenger, later identified as Miles, appeared to the trooper to be under the influence of a drug and was "displaying erratic behavior," according to the charging document.

A deputy interviewed the driver, who said she was driving back to North Dakota with Miles, her former foster child, when he began acting strangely. She said she knew he was on "some sort of drug," but that she figured it would dissipate faster than it did, the complaint states.

The woman said problems began in Monroe County, where deputies there responded to a report of him cutting her while they struggled over a grooming kit in the vehicle. She told the St. Croix County deputy they stopped four more times after that, during which Miles' behavior became more erratic.

At some point, Miles began jumping from the front to the back seat and threw things at her. He then commented that he preferred to be handicapped, grabbed the steering wheel "and tried to force them off the road," the complaint states the woman reported.

The woman told officers their SUV nearly struck a semi-trailer at that point, but she regained control of the wheel. That, she said, was when Miles jumped over the center console, again grabbed the wheel and overpowered her. The move sent the vehicle into the median ditch.

Deputies said Miles refused to speak with them after being placed in a squad and was resistive with jail staff after being arrested.

A preliminary hearing in the case was set for Oct. 24.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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