Deputy Wayne Blanchard was awarded the 1st Responder of the year on Tuesday. Pictured from left to right, WCDSA President Craig Konopski, Sheriff Kurt Picknell, Angela Blanchard, WI State Representative Tyler August, WCDSA member Chris Such.

MADISON — Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Blanchard was honored at the state capitol in Madison Tuesday with a first responder of the year award.

Blanchard, a 20 year veteran of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office, was injured Aug. 1, 2021, when a speeding vehicle that he was helping to try to stop careened out of control, striking the deputy.

Blanchard was nominated for the award by state Rep. Tyler August.

The award was accepted by Blanchard’s wife, WCDSA President Craig Konopski, Sheriff Kurt Picknell and WCDSA member Chris Such.

Blanchard returned home earlier this month to continue his recovery.

he will need continued support, and those interested in donating can do so through a GoFundMe campaign HERE. 

According to the original news release from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office, a Walworth County Sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop a motor vehicle shortly after 1 a.m. Aug. 1, 2021 for traveling 62 mph in a 25 mph zone in the City of Lake Geneva. 

The vehicle’s driver exhibited signs of impairment while operating the motor vehicle, presenting a danger to the community, according to a news release.

The driver increased speeds in excess of 100 mph traveling north on Highway 120. As the driver approached the intersection with Highway 11, both the headlights and taillights were turned off and the vehicle failed to stop at the posted stop sign continuing north on Highway 120 at a high rate of speed. 

That’s when Blanchard, a 20 year veteran of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office, was on Highway 120 north of Kniep Road in the Town of Spring Prairie, monitoring the radio transmissions of the pursuit. 

Blanchard took a position behind a guardrail and was prepared to deploy a tire deflation device in an attempt to stop the vehicle, according to the news release.

As the vehicle approached Blanchard’s position the driver began to lose control along the shoulder of the northbound traffic lane, evantually striking Blanchard.

The driver, driver, 25 year old Tony Perales of Racine, has been charged with 1st-degree reckless injury, fleeing an officer, operating without a valid license and felony bail jumping.

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.