Good Samaritan thwarts attack on Portage police officers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Good Samaritan thwarts attack on Portage police officers

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Nurse Vanessa Guerra and Portage Police Chief Ken Manthey Nurse Vanessa Guerra and Portage Police Chief Ken Manthey
(Left) Jacob R. Hellenbrand, (Right) Olivia J. Boomsma, Portage Police Department (Left) Jacob R. Hellenbrand, (Right) Olivia J. Boomsma, Portage Police Department

PORTAGE (WKOW) --- Police in Portage said it was the actions of a good samaritan that possibly saved the lives of two officers.

Authorities said Officers Brian Loewenhagen and Eric Walters were trying arrest 21-year-old Jacob Hellenbrand of Waunakee Sunday evening at the Kwik Trip on New Pinery Road, when 21-year-old Olivia Boomsma of Rio started punching Loewenhagen when he tried putting Hellenbrand in handcuffs.

Officers were trying to arrest Hellenbrand on a probation violation. But the men got into a scuffle and Hellenbrand kicked Officer Eric Walters in the head.

“The kick was so powerful that it literally knocked Walters out. And we watched the dashcam this morning. And he was unconscious for over two minutes,” said Portage Chief of Police Kenneth Manthey.

That's when Vanessa Guerra, an off-duty certified medical assistant who had stopped into the convenience store on her way home from work, rushed over to help. She saw the struggle and realized Walters was not moving and unconscious. While checking on him, Boomsma began fighting with Loewenhagen again and allegedly was yelling about having a knife in her pocket.

That when Guerra slammed Boomsma against the wall after she said allegedly threatened the officers.

“When I heard the word knife, at that point it's going to be you or me. At that point it was her,” Guerra said.

Guerra said she wasn't really thinking about her own safety when she saw the officers in trouble. The medical professional and former corrections officer said she it all happened so fast and that she did what came naturally to her.

“I'm in the medical profession. When you get into that mode, you're there for your patients, you're there for the person that you see in need. And that's what you do.”

Both officers are OK after suffering cuts and bruises. Walters also suffered a possible concussion.

Chief Manthey is thankful for Guerra's quick-thinking and bravery in a situation that could have been potential deadly for the officers.

Asked if she would you do it again?

“Absolutely,” Guerra said.

Hellenbrand and Boomsma are facing felon charges of battery to a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. Both are being held at the Columbia County Jail.


Two people are facing felony charges after "viciously" attacking two Portage Police Officers, according to a post on the Portage Police Department's Facebook page.

But the officers injuries could have been much worse if a good Samaritan would not have intervened.

Authorities said the officers were trying to arrest a man on a probation and parole violation Sunday evening at a north Portage Kwik Trip when the attack took place.

According to the post, 21-year-old Olivia J. Boomsma instigated the incident by punching Officer Brian Loewenhagen in the face several times while he was trying to place 21-year-old Jacob R. Hellenbrand in handcuffs. Sgt. Eric Walters attempted to help.

At that point, police said Hellenbrand kicked Sgt. Walters in the head, causing him to lose consciousness. 

Vanessa Guerra, the off-duty certified medical assistant stepped in, caring for Walters. The nurse became concerned for the safety of the officers after Boomsma started yelling about a knife in her pocket. She body slammed Boomsma and held her until one of the officers could handcuff the woman. 

The Columbia County Sheriff's Department is assisting the Portage Police Department in the investigation.


The story has been updated to correctly identify Guerra as a certified medical assistant. She was incorrectly identified as an off-duty nurse in the initial news release from the police department.

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