A boating-while-intoxicated case escalated to felony-level charges last week after a 60-year-old Twin Cities man plunged into the St. Croix River, where he allegedly battled police who attempted to apprehend him.
The Cottage Grove, Minn., man, who stripped out of his clothing and a life vest during the alleged July 31 confrontation, was later charged with three felony battery counts - one for each of the Hudson police officers prosecutors say he struck. Prosecutors also charged Jerome L. Seipel with three counts of misdemeanor resisting an officer.
Seipel posted $250 cash bond a day after his initial Aug. 2 court appearance.
According to a criminal complaint:
A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation officer who had arrested Seipel on suspicion of boating while intoxicated reported at 2:39 p.m. that the suspect jumped off his boat in Hudson's South Bay on the St. Croix.
Hudson police were called to assist with Seipel, who was wearing a life vest at the time.
Officers arrived in a Hudson police boat to find Seipel floating in the water attempting to swim away. He didn't respond to police, some of whom boarded the larger DNR boat in an effort to bring him aboard.
Police snagged Seipel's life vest with a pole and pulled him to the DNR boat, where he fought officers on the deck. Officers used different attempts - applying a pressure hold, kneeing him in the side - to subdue Seipel, who continued to fight them before slipping back into the water.
Seipel, listed as 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, lost his life vest and pants in the struggle and was in the river while Hudson police shuttled its boat back to shore to pick up another officer to aid in the ordeal.
While Seipel was distracted watching the Hudson boat, another officer aboard the DNR craft reached over and grabbed him. Seipel scratched and grabbed at that officer, but another Hudson officer used a rope to hold onto him.
The DNR officer dealt several elbow strikes to Seipel's back to stop his resistance before officers eventually overpowered the man and hauled him aboard, where he was handcuffed.
Once ashore, Seipel was taken by ambulance to be evaluated at Hudson Hospital.
Minnesota court records show Seipel was on probation at the time of the incident from a 2017 DWI conviction. He returns to St. Croix County Circuit Court on Aug. 13 for a status conference.