High speed chase through Natrona County into Converse County results in six month prison sentence

(Casper, Wyo.) - In October of 2015 a Glenrock man was arrested for his third DWUI and for eluding officers on a high speed chase through Casper and into Converse Couny. Thirty-three year old Frank Banzhaf was sentenced to serve twelve months in prison for the two charges in Natrona County. Six months will be suspended for three years of supervised probation following a six month term. According to court records, Banzhaf was reportedly extremely intoxicated at Old Chicago and left without paying his bill, and staff followed him to the parking lot and witnessed him having a hard time walking and fell a few times in the parking lot. The man then left the parking lot heading Eastbound on E. 2nd Street driving a dark colored crew cab Dodge pickup truck. A NCSO Sergeant heard the report over the radio and passed the vehicle described traveling Eastbound on East 2nd Street near Ranch Road. The Sergeant turned around and caught up to the vehicle, according to reports. At the intersection of 2nd and Hat Six Road the vehicle failed to stop at the stop sign, turned northbound on Hat Six Road and was reported driving in the southbound lane. The Sergeant then activated his lights to initiate a traffic stop. The suspect vehicle then accelerated and continued northbound to Highway 20-26 then turned eastbound. According to reports once eastbound, the vehicle accelerated to 95 mph. The Deputy notified PSCC of the pursuit and Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers in the area responded to the pursuit. The NCSO Sergeant observed the suspect vehicle drifting back and forth across both lanes of traffic. The pursuit continued into Converse County. At one point, according to reports, the vehicle turned off on a side road west of Glenrock and continued south. The suspect vehicle then turned around northbound again and struck a WHP vehicle and the NCSO vehicle. The suspect then returned to Hwy 20-26 and continued eastbound. The suspect vehicle then went through the town of Glenrock at excessive speed, turned south on S. Sunup Road and went around a block and back out to Hwy 20-26 and continued eastbound again. East of S. Sunup Road the suspect vehicle finally stopped in the middle of the road. Officers gave repeated commands to the driver to shut off the vehicle and put his hands out of the side window. The driver did not comply and left traveling eastbound again. The suspect vehicle turned onto I-25 northbound at excessive speed. Reports indicate that at some point during the pursuit, the driver slowed to just a few mph and a police vehicle was able to get out in front of the vehicle. The suspect vehicle then accelerated again and sideswiped the police vehicle, causing his vehicle to lose momentum and nearly crash. The suspect vehicle then slowed down and stopped on I-25 at the northern Glenrock exit, according to reports and turned off on the exit. The suspect vehicle went southbound through the interchange, and then took the on-ramp to southbound I-25. According to reports, near the top of the off-ramp there was a collision with a WHP Trooper vehicle which the NCSO Sergeant did not see. As the Sergeant approached the scene in his vehicle, the suspect vehicle was attempting to turn around and flee Northbound in the Southbound Lane of I-25. Due to the immediate danger posed by the fleeing suspect, NCSO Sergeant rammed the suspect vehicle in a head on type collision. A Converse County Sheriff’s Deputy also rammed his vehicle into the suspect vehicle. With the suspect vehicle disabled, officers approached the vehicle, court documents state. The driver, later identified as 33-year-old Frank Banzhaf, was clearly visible in the vehicle. Officers gave repeated verbal commands to the driver, but his only response was to flip off the officers. Officers were only able to get to Banzhaf through the passenger door and ordered him to put his hands on the steering wheel; he did not comply and again flipped the officers off. The NCSO Sergeant then sprayed Banzhaf with pepper spray and another officer shot him with a taser. Banzhaf then complied and put his hands on the steering wheel. Officers were able to get Banzhaf out of the vehicle and on the ground where he was handcuffed. Officers could smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from Banzhaf, according to reports. Medical units arrived on scene and transported Banzhaf to WMC-ER. After being checked out, he agreed to speak with NCSO Sergeant where he admitted that he had been drinking. He was charged with a Felony DUI for due to having previous DUI convictions and also charged with fleeing or attempting to elude. Banzhaf is currently facing felony charges in Converse County for destruction of property and eluding officers. Today in court his Attorney, John MIner, commented before the sentence was handed down, "It is truly a fascinating video Judge." Speaking of the high speed chase. "He truly has no memory of the incidents and he had no idea what he was doing.He was not paying attention as he was blacked out." The State Attorney commented, "Frank's actions were ridiculously reckless." #oilcity #news