Glendale - A 22-year-old Milwaukee man allegedly carrying a firearm led Glendale police officers on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash on I-43 on Nov. 12.
Jerry Higgins has been charged with fleeing an officer, first-degree recklessly endangering safety and possession of a firearm by a felon. If convicted on all three charges, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 42 years.
A Glendale police officer pulled Higgins over for no license plates and heavy window tint at 6:19 p.m. Nov. 12 on Port Washington Road near Henry Clay Street. Higgins provided the officer with a false name and birthday, but he did hand the officer a license plate. The officer ran the license plate and found the vehicle was registered to Higgins, who had a warrant and was on supervision for felon in possession of a firearm.
To verify that the driver of the vehicle was in fact Higgins, the officer asked Higgins to show his arm to see if his tattoos matched the tattoo description on the warrant. When Higgins unzipped his sweatshirt, the officer noticed Higgins kept his left arm on his waistband as if he was hiding something. The officer noticed that the tattoos matched those on the warrant, and asked him to get out of the vehicle.
Instead of getting out of the vehicle, Higgins allegedly shifted the vehicle into gear and fled at a high rate of speed. Another officer near Port Washington Road heard the report of the fleeing vehicle, and saw Higgins’ Pontiac G6 speed down Port Washington Road, according to a criminal complaint.
The second officer began to pursue the Pontiac, which quickly turned onto the northbound I-43 on-ramp, nearly striking another vehicle trying to enter the freeway. The vehicle reached 100 miles per hour on the freeway, making evasive and dangerous lane changes. The vehicle crested a hill in the 6500 block of I-43 and crashed with a Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe was severely damaged, but the driver suffered only minor injuries. She said she saw the vehicle approaching her at a high rate of speed without headlights, and when it tried to swerve around her, it struck the guard rail in the median. The Pontiac bounced off of the median rail and struck her car, causing her vehicle to then hit the other median wall. She told the officer she thought she was going to die.
A review of DOT camera footage showed Higgins’ vehicle bounce off of both median walls about five times, “crossing traffic each time like a pinball,” according to the complaint.
Another Glendale officer, meanwhile, approached Higgins’ damaged vehicle. Higgins exited his vehicle through the passenger window, and disobeying the officer’s commands to stop, ran across the northbound lanes of I-43, causing a vehicle to stop.
Higgins then allegedly jumped over the median wall and ran across southbound I-43, where he climbed over a fence and ran into a neighborhood. Several vehicles had to slam on their brakes to prevent hitting the defendant. The officer said he was carrying a gun, and an empty box of ammunition was found in the car, according to the complaint.
After an extensive search of the area, a sergeant with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office found Higgins 45 minutes later. He was injured and covered in debris. Police believe he discarded his firearm somewhere in the wooded area.