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Hudson man faces multiple felonies following alleged attack, police pursuit

David Edward Toenjes

Around 3 a.m. April 12, a Hammond woman opened her second-story bedroom window and climbed out just as the man she'd met a couple months prior on a dating website — the same man who moments earlier told her he'd kill her and her unborn child — ran at her with a knife, grabbing her left foot momentarily as she let go of the window and fell to the ground, according to a criminal complaint filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

She landed on her back, knocking the wind out of her, but got to her feet and ran to a neighbor's house, ringing the doorbell and yelling for help as the man — 31-year-old Hudson resident David Edward Toenjes — got in his silver Ford Taurus and fled the scene, the complaint states.

Toenjes allegedly preceded to lead authorities on a 37-mile chase, which reached speeds of 100 miles per hour before losing control of his vehicle, which came to rest in a ditch near the Apple River on Highway 65 in Polk County.

He fled into the woods at which time a woman emerged from the vehicle — a woman who, according to the complaint, told authorities she passed out drunk in his car after going to a bar with him and the next thing she remembered was waking up in the middle of the pursuit with Toenjes staring straight ahead and repeating "you're going to be OK."

Toenjes returned from the woods a short time later and surrendered to authorities.

According to National Institute of Justice research on intimate partner violence, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner each year in the United States and intimate partner homicides make up 40 to 50 percent of all murders of women in the United States.

"Although alcohol is not the cause of violence against women, a significant relationship exists between male perpetrator problem drinking and violence against intimate female partners," according to nij.gov. "Severe drinking problems increase the risk for lethal and violent victimization of women in intimate partner relationships. More than two-thirds of the offenders who commit or attempt homicide used alcohol, drugs, or both during the incident."

Authorities allegedly found an open 1.75-liter bottle of Maker's Mark whisky inside Toenjes' vehicle following the pursuit.

Wisconsin court records show Toenjes pleaded guilty in July 2016 to felony substantial battery following an incident earlier that year in which he showed up drunk to an acquaintance's house in New Richmond, pushed his way inside, punched a man in the head and bit him before biting the acquaintance.

After turning himself in the following day, Toenjes told deputies he remembered drinking in North Hudson the night before, but didn't remember going to New Richmond, according to a criminal complaint filed in that case.

He also fled from police during that incident, but related charges were dismissed.

According to NIJ, a woman's attempt to leave an abuser was the primary factor in 45 percent of the murders of women by their intimate partners. The complaint states the victim told authorities she informed Toenjes earlier that night she did not wish to continue their relationship.

Toenjes was charged with fleeing a peace officer, two counts of false imprisonment (one with domestic abuse modifier), first-degree recklessly endangering safety, strangulation and suffocation domestic abuse, threats to injure domestic abuse — all felonies — as well as misdemeanor battery to an unborn child and battery.

Court records show his bond was set at $50,000 at his initial appearance April 15.

The heaviest penalty is tied to the first-degree recklessly endangering safety charge, which is punishable by up to 12 years, six months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Toenjes criminal history goes further back and includes 2015 convictions for obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct. He was imprisoned in 2008 for three years following a burglary conviction, according to online Wisconsin court records. He also has a 2008 conviction for mistreatment of animals causing death.

Toenjes' next court appearance is scheduled for April 22.

According to the complaint:

An acquaintance of Toenjes received a call from him late night April 11 or early morning April 12 that he wanted to talk, so the two went to Willow River Saloon for some drinks.

She told authorities she had too much to drink, passed out in his car when they left the bar and then woke up during the chase with no knowledge of why Toenjes was fleeing authorities.

While she was asleep in his car, Toenjes drove the two of them to the Hammond residence of the victim of his attack, parked the car and went inside.

Earlier that evening, Toenjes went to the victim's residence to help remove snow and she gave him permission to stay the night. The victim told authorities she met Toenjes a couple months prior on a dating website and had since become pregnant with his child.

Since learning of the pregnancy, the victim said Toenjes became very possessive. That night, she told him she wanted to end their relationship due to his controlling behavior.

Toenjes became upset and drank approximately 1/3 of a bottle of liquor before leaving her house around 11 p.m., she said.

Around 3 a.m., the victim was awake in bed when Toenjes walked into her bedroom and started making comments about how he had nothing to live for without her and the baby.

She told him to leave or she would call the cops, at which time he grabbed her phone, jumped on top of her and punched her in the face and head five or six times. During the struggle, Toenjes said he would kill her and the baby and punched her repeatedly in the stomach.

He started to strangle her and said he was going to kill her, the baby and himself, telling her she didn't deserve to live as he continued to choke her. Somewhere in the fight he bit her foot.

She was able to calm him down and he ordered her to unlock her phone so he could see who she was talking to, but she was able to call 911 and scream her address before David realized she made the call.

He became incensed, threatened to kill her and her mom when he got out of jail and then jumped on top of her again and started to beat her and drag her around by her hair on the bed, leaving clumps on the bed investigators later found.

He pushed her face into a pillow, threatening to kill all three of them.

He told her he was going to get a knife to kill her and left the bedroom, which is when she opened the window and got halfway out before he returned and ran at her, grabbing her foot as she fell.

Her cellphone was found in the snow underneath the window and a 13-inch black-handled knife was located on the floor of the bedroom.

Authorities located the victim across the street from her residence, out of breath and barefoot with nothing more than a tank top and capri pants on.

Toenjes left the residence and once he was located by authorities, led them on the multiple-county chase.

While in custody, Toenjes repeatedly hit his head on the window and cage of the squad car, and told deputies to "kill me."

The victim recalled Toenjes mentioned to her he would "do something to get the police to kill him."

Toenjes then became unresponsive and required an ambulance transport to the hospital, which had to stop on the way to the hospital multiple times to have deputies assist in strapping Toenjes back onto the stretcher.

Once at the hospital, the behavior continued, but Toenjes eventually calmed down enough to consent to a preliminary breath test, which registered his blood alcohol concentration at .12.

The female passenger in the vehicle during the entire incident refused any medical attention and was given a ride home.

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