Superior Police officer jailed after fatal off-duty drunk driving crash

Police recommending homicide by intoxicated use of vehicle charges

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A sergeant with the Superior Police Department was arrested early Friday after an off-duty crash that killed one man and left two other people injured. Police say the sergeant was drunken driving.

A statement from the police department says Sgt. Greg Swanson is being held in the Douglas County Jail pending a charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.

Swanson has been with the Superior department for 15 years. According to the statement from Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander, Swanson was placed on administrative leave while the investigation is underway.

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The man killed was a 23-year-old Eau Claire resident.

According to the statement from the department, the crash happened at 1:15 this morning on the 5200 block of E. 2nd Street. Both vehicles were headed north, with Swanson believed to have crashed into the rear of the other vehicle, which was occupied by three people.

Along with the man killed, police said two other people were injured and taken to a local hospital. Their conditions are unknown.

Chief Alexander said department policy calls for outside agencies to investigate incidents involving Superior Police officers. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin State Patrol investigated the crash. The sheriff’s department arrested Swanson.

“This is a sad and tragic incident,” Alexander stated. “We wish to express our sincere sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased, and our hopes of a speedy and successful recovery for the other occupants involved.”

Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf issued a statement Friday morning saying he would request a special prosecutor from an outside agency be appointed to handle the case.

“Sgt. Swanson has worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office and its prosecutors on many cases over the years during his career with the department,” Fruehauf said.

He said he is appointing a special prosecutor to “ensure that this matter is objectively reviewed and handled, and to avoid the appearance of any impropriety and to maintain public confidence in this process.”