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Holmen woman charged in 2019 hit-and-run death of husband

Holmen woman charged in 2019 hit-and-run death of husband

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Lori Ann Phillips

Phillips

A 50-year-old Holmen woman is being charged in the 2019 hit-and-run death of her husband outside their home.

Lori Ann Phillips, W5414 County Road W, will make an initial court appearance June 16 in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

She is charged with a Class D felony — hit-and-run resulting in death — after her spouse, Mark Phillips, 48, was found frozen to the ground and covered in snow in a snowbank alongside the couple’s driveway after she drove away in a truck.

The La Crosse County Sheriff’s office the morning of Feb. 23, 2019, was dispatched to the residence after Lori Ann called “hysterical” and stated she could not administer CPR to Mark. She reported last seeing him at 11 p.m., stating, “He was coming around this truck to come and get me so I took off. His door was still wide open but I didn’t know that he was.”

According to the criminal complaint, Lori Ann “continued with more of a rambling statement, possibly saying she did not hurt him, she did not know what happened and she did not know he was there.”

Lori Ann told responding officers the couple had an argument the night prior after having food and drinks with friends at Sloopy’s Alma Mater. Mark accused her of sleeping with one of their dinner companions, she said, and while in their truck Mark held her down and put her in a chokehold, according to the complaint. Lori Ann said she experienced “sensitive areas on her right chest and neck” from the incident.

Lori returned to a bar with friends and Mark left, calling her and “threaten(ing) to punch people out.” After sending an apology text he returned to drive Lori Ann home. During the car ride they continued to argue, according to the complaint.

Upon returning home at 11 p.m., Lori Ann told Mark she was going to leave for the night, and he went to the passenger’s side door to remove some items. While the door was still opened, Mark “got mad and started running over to her door while she was in the driver’s seat” and Lori Ann “took off” while the passenger door was still open.

Lori stated she drove around two blocks, during which time the passenger door shut on its own, before stopping to see if Mark was following her. After booking a hotel room for the wrong night, Lori told officers she attempted to sleep in her car in the Woodman’s parking lot in Onalaska before returning home at approximately 2 a.m., according to the complaint.

Lori said she observed a pair of Mark’s shoes by the door and assumed he was asleep upstairs. After shutting off the home’s security camera system “as to not wake up Mark,” with the motion sensors, Lori Ann slept on the couch before going upstairs at approximately 6 a.m. Finding Mark not there, she searched the home and garage before spotting Mark in the snowbank, according to the complaint.

Lori then called 9-1-1. She told responders “her worst fear was that Mark had chased her down the driveway and slipped and fell and she did not know he was there.” Lori Ann later told officers “He is such a good guy” but when asked said Mark had pushed her in the past but never punched her, stating “he gets so angry.”

According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries and the manner of death was undetermined. Mark suffered abrasions on his head and neck area, hemorrhagic nasal contents, a cerebral subdural hemorrage and a contusion of the left temporalis muscle, in addition to rib fractures, abrasions and contusions on his limbs, and lacerations.

Nine samples, including hairs and fibers from the underside of the truck driven by Lori Ann, were collected and examined by the Wisconsin Crime Lab. According to the report, “it is the opinion of the analyst that the fiber located on the drive shaft could have originated from Mr. Phillip’s jeans. The analyst recognizes that other sources of fibers consistent with this fiber also exist.”


Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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