20 charges filed in Thanksgiving rampage
An Appleton man accused of carrying out a rampage in Greenville and Dale on Thanksgiving night faces 20 charges.
Jonathon T. Harper, 32, appeared in Outagamie County Circuit Court on Nov. 28 and remains in custody on a $250,000 cash bond.
Harper is suspected of erratic driving, auto theft, kidnapping and other crimes throughout Greenville, Medina and Dale late night Nov. 22.
Authorities accuse Harper of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and engaging in crashes that damaged vehicles and structures, broke a public safety officer’s hand and gave a woman inside her house a concussion.
Harper is charged with 16 felonies and four misdemeanors, including taking a vehicle by use of force, three counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, six felony counts of property damage, hit-and-run causing injury, false imprisonment and possession of methamphetamine.
Harper is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday, Dec. 6.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Nov. 22 sometime before 11 p.m., a public safety officer at Appleton International Airport in Greenville was conducting a security check of the airport’s grounds near State Highways 76 and 96 when he saw an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme pull out of a driveway and accelerate. The vehicle was swerving around the road.
The officer reported the vehicle to police as he followed it eastbound on State 96 to the intersection of County Highway CB. The vehicle performed a U-turn, nearly striking a traffic fixture, before accelerating westbound.
The officer witnessed the driver turn into the Lakeview Lane subdivision and drive through yards toward Lakeview Court. The officer lost sight of the vehicle for some time.
Outagamie County Sheriff’s Sgt. Eugene Bunnell reported around this time, a Lakeview Court resident was at home lying on her couch in her basement when she later told sheriff’s deputies she heard an explosion and saw a flash of light. She was struck in the head by unknown debris as a vehicle crashed through the patio door.
The driver also rammed into three overhead doors on an outbuilding located on the same property, based on damage investigators found later.
The officer saw the vehicle again as it drove through a closed garage door on Lakeview Court. Fearing for his safety, the officer headed onto State 96.
Deputies later learned that after the driver crashed into the three-stall garage, he parked the Oldsmobile in one stall, still running with the headlights on and doors ajar. He took a parked 2018 Cadillac Escalade and drove away.
The officer noticed an erratic Cadillac Escalade accelerate out of Lakeview Court behind him.
The officer drove onto State 96 but watched as the driver caught up behind him and rear-ended his truck near Glenview Drive. The impact sent the officer into a ditch.
A mother and her sister who were in a garage nearby heard the crash. They arrived to the scene in two separate vehicles to check on the drivers. Two teens waited inside the mother’s Ford F-150 pickup.
The officer had suffered a broken hand and wrist, but he told sheriff’s deputies he did not realize it until later due to adrenaline.
The driver exited his vehicle to inspect the damage to the Escalade and then walked toward the officer and the two women.
Those on scene described the driver as wobbly and unsteady with slurred speech.
The officer shouted for the driver to stop out of concern he could have a weapon. The driver instead entered the mother’s F-150.
The mother and sister shouted to him there were children in the vehicle.
The mother’s 14-year-old daughter attempted to lock the car doors but could not before the driver got inside and started the vehicle.
The daughter escaped unharmed as she jumped out of the front seat before the driver rear-ended the sister’s parked car. The daughter left her smartphone in the truck.
The officer jumped out of the way to avoid being pinned between the vehicles.
The driver drove off with the daughter’s 13-year-old friend – and unbeknownst to everyone at the time, the family’s hunting rifle – still in the backseat.
The injured officer was taken by ambulance to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah for treatment.
The mother received a call from her daughter’s friend from inside the truck. The mother described the girl as “hysterical” and said she heard her asking the driver to let her out.
The driver dropped her off at the Citgo gas station a few minutes later and continued toward Medina.
At Citgo, the daughter used a smartphone-finding app on her friend’s phone to locate her phone and her mother’s F-150. The app said the phone was on Highway 96 near Industrial Avenue in Dale.
Meanwhile, deputies received a report of a hit-and-run crash that had occurred in Medina between Greenville and Dale.
A woman told authorities an F-150 rear-ended her Honda Pilot on State 96 while attempting to pass her. She was later treated for back pain.
In Dale, law enforcement surrounded the parked F-150 in a field near Industrial Avenue.
The driver slowly began driving toward the highway. Bunnell and another deputy attempted to break the truck’s window with their weapons to stop him but failed.
Bunnell arrested Harper after the truck got stuck in a ditch.
Grand Chute Police Lt. Russ Blahnik searched Harper and found 4.9 grams of meth.
Harper was previously convicted of criminal damage to property in Outagamie County, resisting or obstructing an officer in Sauk County and retail theft in Winnebago County.