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Wausau man critical after squad-pedestrian incident, no charges expected

by
Wausau Police Chief Jeffrey Hardel
Wausau Police Chief Jeffrey Hardel
Wausau Police Chief Jeffrey ... (Download MP3)

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  The elderly pedestrian hit by a Wausau squad car Tuesday night remains hospitalized in critical condition. 89-year-old Chang Vang Thao is being treated at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. He was walking in the middle of a driving lane on North 17th Avenue when he was struck by the police vehicle driven by officer Shawn Pierschalla.

Police Chief Jeffrey Hardel says the dash mounted video camera showed there were several contributing factors to this incident.  "All of the sudden, he just appears on the video, simply because of the darkness.  The lights were out, he was wearing dark clothing, a black jacket, and there was some glare from the oncoming car's headlights.  All of the sudden, you're right there."

The patrol car was travelling at less than the posted 25 mile per hour speed limit at 9:49 p.m.

This incident happened during the area-wide power outage in the Wausau area that affected nearly 11,000 homes and businesses. Streetlights, traffic signals, and storefronts were all dark.

Marathon County Sheriff’s investigators are not recommending traffic charges against officer Pierschalla.

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