A Chicago man is facing felony charges after allegedly crashing his vehicle in the town of Lyndon causing injuries, and then lying to police about the crash being a hit-and-run.
Alejandro Perez, 39, of Chicago, Illinois is charged with felony operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing injuries – second and subsequent offense, felony operating with a prohibited alcohol content causing injuries – second and subsequent offense, and misdemeanor resisting or obstructing an officer. If convicted he faces up to six years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for each felony offense.
According to the criminal complaint:
At 10:19 p.m. March 27, Deputy Justin Wegmueller was dispatched to a hit and run crash with injuries on Highway 12/16 in Lyndon. The reporting party, later identified as Alejandro Perez, stated a car had struck his vehicle and then continued on the highway. Perez said both he and the passenger were fine, but the passenger was complaining of injuries.
Upon arrival on scene EMS were treating the passenger. Both the passenger and Perez gave their identification to Wegmueller.
An inspection of the vehicle revealed heavy damage to the passenger side of the vehicle, with both doors pushed in and passenger airbags deployed. The front passenger door handle was missing. There was a tree branch underneath the rear axle and brush shove under the front passenger side tire. No transfer of paint was observed on the vehicle, and Wegmueller noted the crash did not appear to be the result of a hit and run.
Asked what happened Perez said they had been driving when a car came along the passenger side of the vehicle, hit them and then took off. Perez was unsure of where the crash had taken place, but pointed in the direction they came from. Perez said they had been staying at a Wisconsin Dells hotel and were trying to get to a strip club. Wegmueller noted they would have passed the strip club Perez mentioned to get to their current location.
As Wegmueller and Perez spoke Wegmueller observed Perez swaying while standing, and his speech was slurred. Perez’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and Wegmueller could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Perez’s person. Perez dropped his wallet while speaking with Wegmueller.
A witness approached Wegmueller and stated he had hear a “bang noise” by his house. He then went outside and saw Perez’s vehicle start from near the corner and move to his driveway. The witness observed yelling and arguing with Perez the going back inside the car and driving down the road.
Wegmueller and the witness walked down the road to the corner, where Wegmueller observed a crash scene. Fresh tracks in the ground showed the vehicle failed to negotiate the corner and ran into rees and brush in the ditch. Wegmueller found the passenger side mirror lying near where the vehicle hit the trees, along with the vehicle’s front license plate.
Asked what happened again, Perez said he had not been trying and a car came and hit them. When told what Wegmueller observed at the crash scene Perez stated again he had not been driving and that a car hit him. Wegmueller arrested Perez for obstructing the investigation.
Speaking with the passenger Wegmueller noted she was not wearing any shoes. The passenger stated a vehicle crashed beside them after she pulled to the side of the road. According to the passenger the passenger side windows broke and her face was smashed against the steering wheel. The passenger windows on the vehicle were not broken.
When told Wegmueller had observed the crash scene and asked again what happened, the passenger repeated her story. Wegmueller told the passenger Perez had been placed under arrest for obstructing the investigation by lying and asked her to tell the truth, but she stated the same story. When told Wegmueller had a witness she repeated the same story.
Wegmueller again spoke with the witness, who said Perez forced the passenger into the driver seat and she had not been driving. Perez was walking around the car and she was stuck in the passenger seat while he tried to get the door open and her to change seats.
In the front passenger seat Wegmueller found two pairs of female shoes. In the center console he found the passenger door handle, which had broken off the vehicle. The keys to the vehicle were still in the ignition but the ignition key appeared to be broken.
Wegmueller noted he believed Perez was driving because of the witness statements, the passenger not having shoes on and finding shoes on the passenger side floor, the passenger’s injuries being consistent with being in the passenger seat, Perez not being injured, the door handle of the passenger side ripped off which an injured passenger would be unlikely to be able to rip off, and Perez insisting he was not driving several times prior to being asked.
Perez was transported to the Juneau County Jail. Asked to perform standard field sobriety testing he declined. Perez also declined a voluntary blood draw. A blood draw was performed after obtaining a search warrant. Results from the blood draw gave a blood alcohol content of 0.112.
Perez is scheduled for a plea hearing Sept. 28 at the Juneau County Justice Center.
Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.