Shawano County man not competent to stand trial for military truck chase

Deputies use a snowplow truck to stop a military vehicle in Shawano County. May 8, 2022.
Deputies use a snowplow truck to stop a military vehicle in Shawano County. May 8, 2022.(Shawano County Sheriff)
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 12:18 PM CST
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SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - A Cecil man accused of using a historical military vehicle in a low-speed chase and standoff in May isn’t competent to stand trial.

A Shawano County judge made that ruling and committed Aaron Renel for in-patient mental treatment until he is competent to understand the charges against him and participate in his defense at a trial. The judge will revisit Renel’s condition in three months.

Renel is charged with 2nd Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, Vehicle Operator Fleeing/Eluding an Officer, and Resisting or Obstructing an Officer.

Court records say Renel is a military veteran who suffers from PTSD and other mental health issues.

As we reported last May, prosecutors say Renel was driving a 13,000-pound military truck, known as a “deuce-and-a-half,” with a flat tire on Highway 29. A deputy described “debris going everywhere.” The driver refused to stop until the truck went into the median a half-mile later.

The first deputy who talked to the driver after he initially drove into the median asked Renel why he was driving the truck in that condition. “He stated that he knew I wouldn’t believe him but to check the satellites that are following him and that his tires had been shot out back where the tire debris had started.” He also claimed he was communicating with dispatch through “psychic methods” and they told him to keep driving, according to the criminal complaint. He also told deputies he was going on a “Sunday stroll with his truck.”

Renel refused to leave the truck. He was arrested weeks earlier for firing a gun, and deputies saw a soft-case rifle bag on the passenger seat in the truck, so a special response team was called in as a precaution. Trained negotiators tried to de-escalate the situation.

After four hours of negotiations, Renel tried to drive away but was forced into a ditch by a deputy operating a snowplow. Deputies used multiple stun guns and pepper spray before he would get out.