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Police: Man claiming to have COVID-19 spits at, coughs on officer
Tyler J. Abraham
Tyler J. Abraham

BRODHEAD — A man claiming he was infected with the coronavirus spit, coughed and flung vomit at police after leading an officer on a chase, according to Brodhead Chief of Police Chris Hughes.

Tyler J. Abraham, 26, Brodhead, faces charges of resisting and obstructing, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, recklessly endangering safety, discharging bodily fluids at a public safety worker and threatening to disseminate a biological agent. He was also cited for several traffic violations, including an eighth offense of driving with a suspended license.

A Brodhead officer attempted to pull over a vehicle "for squealing its tires and accelerating rapidly from a stop sign" on 21st Street at 1st Center Avenue at 1:42 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Hughes reported in a press release Wednesday.

But the driver kept going, passed the squad car while yelling at the officer out the window and continued northbound on 1st Center Avenue. The officer followed the vehicle, then alerted law enforcement in Rock County after terminating the pursuit on West Keesey Road and South Nelson Road just across the county line.

Janesville police later located the vehicle in the 600 block of Roosevelt Avenue. A Brodhead officer responded to the area and arrested Abraham.

"Once in custody Abraham began to cough and spit toward the officer, claiming he had the coronavirus," Hughes wrote. While Abraham was being medically cleared for jail at a hospital, he "vomited on the floor" of the examination room and "proceeded to use his foot to fling the vomit at the officer."

Abraham has no criminal record in Wisconsin but has been cited numerous times in recent years for traffic offenses as well as battery, theft and disturbing the peace.

He is out on bail, according to Hughes.

Hughes said he wasn't sure if Abraham has been tested for COVID-19 but noted that police notified the Green County Public Health Department of the incident.

The officer involved in the arrest "was using precautions" and is therefore not being quarantined but is being monitored in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Wisconsin Department of Health guidelines, Hughes wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon.

"Our officers have been taking precautions prior to this incident, and this incident has only served to solidify the need, in my staff’s mind, to be conscientious on the use of precautions," Hughes wrote.