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Police Department Press Releases

Posted on: November 19, 2019

*UPDATE* Fleeing Suspect Arrested

fpd media release

Incident: Driver Arrested After Fleeing Traffic Stop

Incident Date: 11/19/19

Release Date: 11/19/19

Arrested: Uriah Smith, 28, of Fitchburg. Smith was booked on a tentative charge of resisting/obstructing an officer

Release Completed By: Lt. Edward Hartwick


On Tuesday, November 19, 2019 around 1 a.m., Fitchburg police officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop for equipment and registration violations in the area of Rimrock Road and John Nolen Drive. The vehicle had originally been seen in the City of Fitchburg and, after the officers caught up to it, it was followed for a short distance to attempt the stop in a safe location.

The driver of the vehicle indicated his intent to stop, eventually pulling over to the shoulder of John Nolen Drive. Moments after the vehicle came to a stop, officers saw the vehicle rolling backward toward their squad car. The officers were able to maneuver their squad out of the path of the vehicle. One of the two officers in the squad gave chase on foot to the driver who ran from the car. The abandoned vehicle continued its backwards path across John Nolen Drive, eventually coming to rest against a fire hydrant. The second officer in the squad was able to confirm no one else was inside the abandoned vehicle.

Officers and resources from several jurisdictions arrived on scene to assist in the search of the driver who had run into a swampy, wooded area, to the south of John Nolen Drive. A Madison Police Department drone unit and a Town of Madison Police K9 unit coordinated their search efforts and were able to locate the driver in an area of thick brush, stuck in waist-deep water.  The driver was unable to get out of the water and mud on his own and officers utilized a rope to pull him out.

The driver, identified as Uriah Smith, 28 of Fitchburg, told officers he fled and hid after panicking due to a lack of a driver’s license. He was booked into the Dane County Jail on a tentative charge of resisting/obstructing an officer.

No injuries were reported.

In addition to the drone and K9 resources from the City of Madison and Town of Madison Police Departments, additional officers from both agencies, along with officers from the Monona Police Department and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene.

This incident serves as a prime example of the high level of inter-agency law enforcement cooperation and assistance within Dane County. The utilization of the K9 and drone resources underscores the capabilities of both units with their ability to track criminal suspects, locate missing individuals, save lives and keep officers and the public safe. 

In this instance, like most others where subjects flee, officers were unsure of the driver's reasons for fleeing the traffic stop and did not know what threat he may have posed to the public. Without the assistance of the K9 and drone units it is possible he would not have been immediately located and freed from the cold water and temperatures. 

Link to Clip of Squad Video: 



On November 19, at 12:47 a.m., Fitchburg officers initiated a traffic stop with a vehicle on Rimrock Road near John Nolen Drive, for a traffic violation. When the driver slowed the vehicle, the driver exited the vehicle and fled from officers on foot. When the driver fled from the vehicle, the driver left the vehicle in reverse.The vehicle crossed over all lanes of John Nolen Drive and came to a stop after striking the curb. The driver fled into a marsh area. Officers were able to setup a perimeter around the marsh. Officers apprehended the driver with the assistance of a drone and a K-9 officer.

The driver was booked into the Dane County Jail for resisting a police officer.

The Fitchburg Police Department was assisted by the Madison Police Department, Town of Madison Police Department, Monona Police Department, and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.  

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