A Trempealeau man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for shooting at La Crescent police officers during a high-speed chase through Houston County last year.
William Gerald Wallraff, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Additional charges, including attempted murder, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Houston County Attorney Samuel Jandt said Wallraff had no prior criminal record and expressed remorse during the March 26 sentencing hearing. Jandt said “an essential portion” of Wallraff’s plea was his admission of certain facts that would “assist in the prosecution” of his alleged co-defendant, Wyatt Helfrich, 20, of La Crosse.
Jandt said Wallraff has agreed to testify against his co-defendant. As of Wednesday, a trial date in Helfrich’s case had not yet been set.
The two men were arrested after a shootout and chase early on July 31, 2017.
Wallraff, whose official address is listed in Kellogg told authorities he was living at a farm where he worked near Trempealeau when he and Helfrich, who was on house arrest, decided to move out west.
Police said Helfrich, the driver, fired a shotgun out the car window as La Crescent Police Officer Ryan Quanrud approached after stopping the pair as they drove out of town.
As La Crescent Police Officer Ryan Quanrud walked up to the idling car, saying “Hey, how’s it going?” he noticed the shotgun barrel pointing o…
Officer Quanrud and a second officer, Christopher Frick, returned fire as Helfrich, who was shot in the neck, sped away. According to police reports, Wallraff fired out of the rear window at the pursuing officers as Helfrich drove west on Hwy. 44 at speeds of more than 100 mph.
After their vehicle went into a ditch near Caledonia, Helfrich and Wallraff fled into a cornfield before surrendering peacefully.
Officers recovered a 20-gauge shotgun, rifle, and ammunition at the scene.
None of the officers involved, nor Wallraff, were injured. Helfrich was treated for a gunshot wound.
Following the incident, the Winona County attorney determined the officers acted in self defence and were justified in their use of force.