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Stolen SUV crashes and catches on fire, driver rescued

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A driver rescued from a burning SUV after a high-speed chase and a crash along I-90 is now identified as a Colorado man.

Fifty-two-year-old Robert LaVake reportedly would not get out of the vehicle, even after it started on fire Thursday morning.

Monroe County deputies say they used beanbag rounds to break a window, so they could pull LaVake out.  

The chase began at Sparta, when a deputy followed the SUV going about 120 miles an hour on the interstate. 

The vehicle went onto Highway 16 for a distance before returning to I-90. 

After running over spike strips, the SUV slowed down, hit a fence along the interstate, and caught on fire. 

Two dogs also were freed from the vehicle, and they were taken to the Monroe County Animal Shelter.

LaVake could be charged with stealing the SUV.

Online records indicate that LaVake was charged with theft in Colorado nearly a year ago.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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