Prosecutors Dec. 28 charged a La Crosse man with striking a drug investigator with his car while trying to escape arrest for selling methamphetamine.

Brandon Ritter, 24, accelerated toward La Crosse police investigator James Mancuso in the parking lot of Festival Foods in Holmen late Dec. 22 after selling $380 worth of meth to a police informant, according to the complaint filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Mancuso was thrown onto the hood of Ritter’s car and fired four shots before falling from the vehicle, the complaint stated.

“Investigator Mancuso also stated that if he hadn’t jumped up when the vehicle struck him, he believed the vehicle would have run him over,” according to the complaint.

Investigators arrested Ritter when he drove into a nearby snowbank, where police found a bag with 36 grams of meth.

Mancuso and Ritter were treated for minor injuries. The officer, a 10-year member of the agency, is on administrative leave, which is standard practice after an officer-involved shooting.

Police found a digital scale and ammunition in Ritter’s car.

Prosecutors charged Ritter, 1819 Hyde St., with first-degree recklessly endangering safety, battery to a police officer, two counts of delivery of meth, possession with intent to deliver meth and possession of a controlled substance. He is jailed on a $25,000 cash bond and a probation hold.

Ritter served prison sentences for possessing meth, burglary and bail jumping after he failed on probation. He is currently on extended supervision.


Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at or 608-791-8224.

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