Former North Star Churla faces road-rage charges

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2011 - 9:42 PM

The ex-enforcer allegedly kicked and punched a motorist's car.

Former North Stars enforcer Shane Churla

Former North Stars enforcer Shane Churla was arrested Wednesday in Eau Claire, Wis., on charges stemming from an alleged road-rage incident.

The 51-year-old Churla, who lives in Big Fork, Mont., and works as a pro scout for the Dallas Stars, was charged with criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct -- two misdemeanors. He appeared in court and was released on $200 cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint, a driver, identified in the report as Jason Statz, 26, of Eau Claire, braked to miss an object in the road. Another driver, identified as Churla, tried to pass Statz on the shoulder.

Churla told officers that Statz refused to let him pass, and Statz claimed Churla pulled alongside his vehicle and "threw a drink or something" at it. Both drivers pulled over to the side of the road. Churla, according to the complaint, approached Statz's BMW, kicked the door and hit it with his fist, causing some damage.

Both drivers then drove away and were stopped a short time later by Eau Claire officers.

Statz told the Star Tribune on Monday that after Churla threw a coffee on his car and sped after him on the shoulder, Statz pulled over to call the police, adding that while he was on the phone, "[Churla] comes over to my car and starts punching my windows bare-knuckled and everything, screaming obscenities and caved in my sun roof."

After Churla left the scene, Statz said he followed Churla's Jeep and led police to him.

Statz said Churla, whom he did not know but has since watched his YouTube fight clips, did $3,800 worth of damage to his car.

Churla is scheduled to appear in Eau Claire County Circuit Court on June 6. If convicted, he could be fined as much as $10,000 and imprisoned for up to nine months.

Churla played parts of five seasons for the North Stars from 1988 to '93 before moving with the team to Dallas, where he spent an additional three years.

With the North Stars, Churla scored 14 goals and 22 assists in 236 games and amassed 1,196 penalty minutes. Churla, who also played for Calgary, Hartford, Los Angeles and the New York Rangers, ranks 32nd all-time with 2,301 penalty minutes.

He retired in 1997 and also has worked as a scout for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Attempts to reach Churla on Monday were unsuccessful. The Stars declined comment.

Star Tribune staff writer Jim Anderson contributed to this report.

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