March 27, 2014
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A Lake Geneva man was arrested Sunday afternoon following a high-speed chase that involved five police agencies.
Christopher L. Mangold, 40, was taken into custody at about 3:55 p.m. after his car was forced to a stop by a Walworth County sheriff's deputy squad car.
Both Mangold's car and the squad car were damaged.
No injuries were reported.
According to a Walworth County Sheriff's Department press release, Mangold faces possible charges of felony fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest, recklessly endangering safety and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated — third offense.
Other charges may be forthcoming from the other four municipalities involved in the chase.
At about 3:23 p.m. Sunday, town of Geneva police and and Walworth County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a report of a domestic violence which reportedly involved Mangold.
Mangold was reported to be intoxicated and left the scene in a 2013 Cadillac ATS.
At about 3:39 p.m., officers spotted Mangold's vehicle in Lake Geneva. A traffic stop was initiated, and the vehicle was pulled over. However, the car sped away before officers could approach the driver.
Officers pursued and the vehicle is alleged to have been speeding at more than 100 miles per hour during the pursuit.
Before the chase was over, offices from Lake Geneva, town of Geneva, town of Delavan, and Elkhorn joined sheriff's deputies in pursuing the speeding car.
Two sets of stop sticks were deployed which deflated one of the fleeing vehicle's tires, but it did not stop the vehicle and the pursuit continued.
At about 3:55 p.m., a Walworth County Sheriff's deputy successfully employed a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) in which the officer's vehicle intentionally strikes the fleeing vehible.
This occurred on I-43 northbound at County Highway NN (north) in Elkhorn.
The PIT maneuver was successful, and the Cadillac struck a guardrail and the pursuit ended. Both the squad car and the Cadillac sustained damage.
Mangold was taken into custody at the scene.
March 27, 2014
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ELKHORN — A repeat drunken driving offender told Judge David Reddy that he doesn’t know how to “drive sober,” and that his previous drunken driving convictions occurred late at night when other drivers were off the road.
During an often rambling allocution, Fred J. Schneider, 71, Zion, Ill., told Reddy that “I didn’t feel drunk, but I was in the eyes of the law.”
On March 20, Reddy said that sending Schneider to prison was necessary to protect the public.
“This is an extremely aggravated case. The court can only image how many times he has been out driving drunk and not been caught,” Reddy said.
Reddy sentenced Schneider to the maximum on the drunken driving charge, which is 7 1/2 years imprisonment and five years of extended supervision.
He also sentenced him to one year in jail for operating after revocation. Schneider’s total sentence includes 8 1/2 years of initial confinement. He was also fined $6,400.
Long-time Assistant District Attorney Diane Donohoo told Reddy that she believes Schneider has more previous drunken driving convictions than any defendant she has ever prosecuted. She asked for the maximum sentence.
“It is nothing short of a miracle that he hasn’t killed anybody,” Donohoo said.
During an interview with the state Department of Corrections, Schneider told a probation agent that he wasn’t intoxicated during his past drunken driving arrests because his tolerance to alcohol is so high.
During the sentencing hearing, Donohoo read a statement that Schneider allegedly made to the writer of a presentence investigation.
“I’ve had a lot of OWIs, but I was never drunk, but they said I was,” Donohoo said while quoting Schneider.
Schneider’s attorney, Melissa Nepomiachi, asked the judge to consider that Schneider is “an older adult with a lot of health issues.”
“A sentence of several years, such as the maximum sentence, is a life sentence,” Nepomiachi said.
She added that she and her client have serious concerns over how the department of corrections will provide health care.
Nepomiachi said that Reddy wasn’t obligated to give Schneider the minimum sentence of four years, but could sentence her client to probation.
Before announcing his sentence, Reddy read Schneider’s criminal record, which includes criminal convictions that date back decades and range from drunken driving, to trespassing to theft.
Schneider has had his probation revoked a number of times, and he has been incarcerated in multiple states.
Nepomiachi said Schneider has never served a lengthy sentence, and the minimum in this case would be significantly more than any of Schneider’s past sentences.
“The fact that he has slipped through the cracks in the past is of no concern to the court,” Reddy said.
During sentencing hearings, defendants are given a right to allocution, which is when they are allowed to address the court.
Schneider told Reddy that his drunken driving convictions began to pile up after his divorce, which occurred more than 30 years ago.
He said he would stay out late at bars, would drink all night and drive home.
He said at those times he was over the legal limit, but not necessarily drunk.
“I just don’t know how to drive sober in the eyes of the law,” Schneider said.
After the hearing, Nepomiachi said she believes her client meant to say that he does know how to drive sober.
However, she wasn’t able to speak with him about his comments.
In August 2012, Schneider was arrested at PFI Fashions in Genoa City.
He showed up to the business, shirtless and asked to use a restroom.
Employees at the business called police because they suspected Schneider was intoxicated.
While waiting for police, a manager distracted Schneider by showing him shirts and the manager gave Schneider a shirt to wear.
Schneider attempted to pay for the shirt with playing cards he had in his wallet.
When Genoa City Police Sgt. Mike Sireno arrived, Schneider told him he believed he was in Winthrop Harbor, Ill., which is about 30 miles east of Genoa City. Schneider became agitated by police questions.
He told police that his girlfriend had driven him to PFI Fashions, and she left in a taxi.
However, an employee saw Schneider pull up to the store and exit the vehicle by himself.
The first record check police ran showed that Schneider had six prior drunken driving convictions. At the Walworth County jail, another OWI was discovered on his record.
By the time charges were filed, law enforcement found one more drunken driving conviction and he was charged with his ninth-offense.
In January, prosecutors amended the charge to 12th offense drunken driving after three additional convictions were discovered.
Schneider’s 11 prior convictions are for offenses that occurred March 1, 1991; May 8, 1991; Sept. 14, 1994; Oct. 21, 1994; Jan. 24, 1996; Feb. 4, 1997; Feb. 4, 1998; March 26, 1999; April 2, 1999; Nov. 5, 2000 and March 3, 2001.
Four of the prior convictions were for offenses that occurred in Wisconsin, two are from Illinois and five are from Minnesota.
Alleged heroin dealer may enter pleaMarch 20, 2014
ELKHORN — A 25-year-old Lake Geneva man who was allegedly selling heroin in the area is reportedly close to reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.
On March 17, Dominic D. Ecklund, appeared briefly in front of Judge Kristine E. Drettwan. Ecklund’s defense attorney, Joshua Klaff, told the judge that a plea agreement was reached in principle and asked to schedule a plea hearing on Wednesday.
After the hearing, District Attorney Daniel Necci said the agreement requires Ecklund to plead guilty to two felony charges, a count of delivering heroin as a repeater and a count of delivering controlled substance.
Necci said as part of the agreement he can recommend up to eight years of initial confinement.
He is not limited to how much extended supervision time he can recommend.
On Jan. 16, the Walworth County District Attorney’s Office filed 20 criminal charges against Ecklund, who was allegedly selling heroin and prescription medication.
Ecklund is in custody in the Walworth County jail.
In the most recent case, Ecklund has been charged with:
- Four counts of delivering heroin, as a repeater.
A confession, chemical evidence conflictMarch 20, 2014
ELKHORN — At first glance, Bruno Moelter’s ninth-offense operating while intoxicated case was a slam dunk for prosecutors. After all, Moelter crashed his car into a pole, slurred his words when speaking to police and fell asleep in the back of a squad car.
But there are holes in the case. At the scene he denied drinking or using drugs and welcomed a Breathalyzer test. At one point, when he was struggling to follow the officer’s instructions, he pleaded for the police to simply test his blood.
The District Attorney’s office filed felony OWI charges against Moelter, but dismissed the case last year when multiple blood screens tested negative for the presence of drugs or alcohol. However, despite the charges being dropped, Moelter’s probation was revoked and he may soon head to prison. Moelter, 56, has been in jail since the Feb. 9, 2013, crash.
Moelter’s case is complex and raises more questions that it resolves. It’s a story that highlights how the burden of proof differs from a criminal conviction and a probation revocation. It also showcases the limitations of chemical testing, because some powerful narcotics are capable of flying under the radar of a drug screen.
On Feb. 13, 2013, in an interview at the jail, Moelter confessed to his probation agent that the day of the crash he drank Jack Daniels whiskey and used his wife’s Fentanyl, a powerful pain killer.
“The testing that has happened thus far has showed that there is no alcohol and no Fentanyl in his blood,” Moelter’s attorney, Martha Thelen, said.
Complicating matters further, according to a spokeswoman from the state’s hygiene lab, a negative drug screen isn’t certain proof that a driver wasn’t under the influence of a narcotic.
She said small amounts of Fentanyl can impair a driver, but evade detection during drug screens.
His arrestOn Feb. 9, 2013, Moelter left his Pell Lake home to purchase cigarettes near the Illinois border. On his way back, at around 5:45 p.m., he crashed his vehicle into a pole on County Highway H in the village of Genoa City.
A motorist, who was driving behind Moelter, told police that Moelter’s vehicle was being driven erratically before the crash. According to police reports, Moelter had bloodshot eyes, he was slow in answering a police officer’s questions and the arresting officer, Mike Lauderdale, suspected Moelter was intoxicated.
Sheila Moelter, Bruno’s wife, said that her husband feel asleep behind the wheel the evening of the crash and that he was “discombobulated” when he was being questioned by police.
Sheila said the fact that her husband’s voice was slurred shouldn’t be surprising.
“Even still now his voice is slurred,” Sheila said. “That’s how he talks.”
Sheila said she and her husband are recovering alcoholics, who take their sobriety seriously.
She strongly denies that Moelter had, or would have used drugs or alcohol.
The Regional News requested the video footage of the field sobriety tests from the Genoa City Police Department.
At the crash scene, Moelter told Lauderdale he hadn’t been drinking.
“Come on man, I can smell it,” Lauderdale said.
“Come on man, I can smell it,” Lauderdale said.
“Smell it?” Moelter responded.
“Yeah, how much have you had? It’s better just to be honest,” Lauderdale said.
“I haven’t had a drink in 13 years, buddy,” Moelter said.
Another officer on the scene yelled at Moelter “I’m not going to ask you Bruno, knock it off. Okay. Listen to him. We are not here to deal with it. We are going to help you out...no buddy.”
Lauderdale wanted to conduct field sobriety tests at the crash scene, but Moelter said he had difficulty seeing.
“Give me a Breathalyzer, whatever,” Moelter said.
Eventually, Lauderdale gave Moelter a Breathalyzer, which had a result of 0.0.
Lauderdale also asked Moelter several times if he hit his head or was injured in the crash. Lauderdale also asked him when was the last time he slept. Moelter responded it had been a couple of days.
A firefighter on the scene told Lauderdale that he knew Moelter, and that Moelter hadn’t had a drink in years.
District Attorney files 8 charges after heroin bustMarch 13, 2014
ELKHORN — A Burlington man faces more than 100 years imprisonment after he was arrested with more than 100 grams of heroin.
Phillip J. Zadurski, 625 Meadow Lane Apt. 7, was arrested on Feb. 19 in East Troy.
After Zadurski’s arrest, Walworth County law enforcement officials said the 184 grams of heroin allegedly found on Zadurski might be the largest quantity of the drug yielded in a single arrest in more than decade.
During Zadurski’s initial bail bond hearing, District Attorney Daniel Necci said the street value of the heroin was around $200,000.
Zadurski is being held in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.
Recently, the Walworth County District Attorney’s office officially charged Zadurski with eight criminal charges.
Below are the charges and the maximum penalties:
- Possession of heroin (in an amount greater than 50 grams) with intent to deliver, as a second or subsequent offense. This charge carries a maximum penalty of 46 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines.
Man gets prison for fifth drunken driving offenseMarch 06, 2014
A Pell Lake man was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Feb. 18 for fifth-offense drunken driving, bail jumping and violating a restraining order.
Since 2012, the Walworth County District Attorney’s office filed four different criminal complaints against Clinton H. St. Onge, 41, W811 Myrtle Road.
The first complaint was for fifth-offense drunken driving.
Business owner faces felony chargesFebruary 27, 2014
ELKHORN — A Genoa City business owner is accused of stealing about $11,000 from an elderly man who suffers from dementia.
William B. Nettleton of McHenry, Ill., has been charged with felony theft, in an amount greater than $10,000, and misdemeanor obstructing an officer.
Nettleton, 51, owns a trucking company in Genoa City. If convicted of the felony, Nettleton faces up to 10 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines.
Another heroin arrestFebruary 27, 2014
ELKHORN — A Burlington man was arrested Feb. 19 with 184 grams of suspected heroin outside an East Troy gas station.
Police also report recovering 127 grams of marijuana, more than 100 grams of psilocybin mushrooms and 54 prescription narcotic pills.
Several Walworth County law enforcement officials said that this is likely the largest heroin bust in the county in the last decade.
Phillip Zadurski, 42, is being held in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
During a bail hearing on Feb. 20, District Attorney Daniel Necci said police were called to the gas station to check on a woman’s welfare.
Necci said police eventually searched Zadurski and found narcotics. In addition to the large amount of the drugs, police allegedly also found several smaller bags of heroin and cocaine.
They also allegedly found crack and heroin paraphernalia and $1,325.
During the court hearing, Necci said Zadurski has an extensive criminal history.
Online court records indicate Zadurski has a 2012 conviction in Milwaukee County for felony possession of marijuana, as a second or subsequent offense.
In 2008, in Walworth County, he was sentenced to prison for battery and disorderly conduct.
During the bail hearing, TJ Wendell, an intern working under the supervision of attorney Julia May, said that Zadurski has lived his entire life in southeastern Wisconsin and had no money to post bond.
Necci responded by saying the heroin had a “street value of just under $200,000.”
Zadurski is next due in court on Feb. 27 in front of Judge David Reddy.
After the hearing, Necci said he has “no reason to believe at this time” that Zadurski is connected to the heroin ring that was uncovered in the Lake Geneva and Delavan areas earlier this month.
In the past two weeks, police have arrested eight people in connection with an alleged heroin-distribution ring.
In the previous arrests, police alleged that Jamaal T. Shellie, 33, Waukegan, Ill., was the ring leader of the heroin operation and that he enlisted other people to help him sell the drug.
According to the criminal complaints filed against Shellie and others:
On Jan. 14, a confidential informant was given $120 to purchase heroin from a drug dealer he knew as “Major.”
“Major” was later identified as Shellie through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Administration records. On Jan. 14, the informant purchased 0.74 grams of heroin from Shellie in Lake Geneva.
On Jan. 15, the informant was given $240 to purchase heroin from Christina Lavender. Lavender, 28, Delavan, was also arrested last week. She has been formally charged with two felony counts of delivering heroin.
The informant told the drug unit that during the drug sale, Lavender was on the phone with Shellie. After the sale, the informant called Shellie, who said his girls were “good.”
On Jan. 16, the informant bought 2.17 grams of heroin from Shellie for $240 near Elkhorn High School. The informant bought $120 of heroin from Shellie on Jan. 21 and $120 of the drug on Jan. 28. Both transactions allegedly occurred in the city of Delavan. Lavender was charged in connection with this purchase as well. She allegedly drove Shellie to the deal.
On Feb. 4, the drug unit gave the informant $480 and the informant bought 4.22 grams of heroin from Shellie in Lake Geneva. Jacob L. Crews, 25, Lake Geneva allegedly drove Shellie to the deal.
Crews has been charged with one count of delivering heroin, as a party to a crime.
On Feb. 7, the informant was given another $480 and bought 3.8 grams of heroin from Shellie at a hotel in Lake Geneva.
At the hotel, police arrested Crews, who was leaving the hotel room where Shellie was reportedly selling drugs. Crews told police that Shellie sells heroin “all day, all night, seven days a week,” at different hotels throughout the area.
In 2005, in Lake County, Ill., Shellie was convicted of manufacturing/delivering cocaine.
Trisha J. Mohr, 34, Delavan, was also charged with two counts of delivering heroin, as a party to a crime.
On Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, Mohr allegedly drove Shellie to sell heroin to a confidential informant. On both dates, the informant allegedly bought $120 worth of heroin from Shellie who was allegedly driven to the deal by Mohr.
After Shellie was arrested on Feb. 7, police believe that Matthew Brown, 31, Waukegan, Ill., took over the heroin operation.
Brown has been charged with two counts of delivering heroin as a second or subsequent offense. On Feb. 11, an undercover officer with the Walworth County drug unit purchased $120 in heroin from Brown. On Feb. 12, the officer bought $420 worth of heroin from Brown.
Woman gets prison for role in drive-byFebruary 27, 2014
A 28-year-old Elgin, Ill., woman will spend two years in prison for her role in a January 2013 drive-by shooting in Elkhorn.
Sarah M. Brittain pleaded guilty to a felony charge of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. She was identified as the driver in the shooting.
On Feb. 18, Judge David Reddy also sentenced Brittain to two years of extended supervision.
Brittain and three others were arrested in connection with the incident.
Cameron M. Casillas, 18, of Milwaukee, and Rochele M. Sorg, 20, of Elkhorn, both have been charged in connection with the shooting.
Sorg is scheduled for a jury trial in July. Casillas pleaded guilty to a felony charge of discharging a firearm at a building and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31.
The third person who was arrested was Alfredo Villarreal, 18, Janesville. After his arrest, Villarreal was transported to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center for an undisclosed ailment.
According to police documents, a Walworth County Sheriff’s deputy found Villarreal in his jail cell laying on the floor with a large amount of blood and sputum in the cell. The deputy reported seeing a large laceration on the top of Villarreal’s head.
Villarreal was transported to the hospital, where he attacked a deputy who was guarding him. The deputy shot and killed Villarreal.
After the shooting, county prosecutors said Villarreal would have been charged in connection with the shooting had he not been killed.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Jan. 19, 2013, at 7:50 p.m. officers went to a residence for a report of shots fired at a home.
Police spoke to Alexander Maurizzi and Flavio Giovanni Perez. Maurizzi said he believed the shooting was a retaliation because he had charges dismissed against him for felony child abuse.
The charges were reportedly filed because of a fight Maurizzi had with Villarreal.
Casillas didn’t show up to a Jan. 14 court proceeding and the prosecutor moved to dismiss the case.
On the street outside the home, Elkhorn Police Officer Robert Rayfield located shell casings.
Bullet holes were located at a number of spots in the home. A bullet entered Maurizzi’s bedroom, which he occupied at the time of the shooting. Three other people were also in the home when the shots were fired.
That night police spoke to Villarreal who said he was with his girlfriend during the shooting.
However, police had previously spoken to Villarreal’s girlfriend, who said he was not with her at the time of the shooting.
Villarreal then told police he had actually been with Martin Villarreal and Casillas.
On Jan. 24, Sorg told police that Brittain and Casillas picked her up from her home and then they picked up Alfredo Villarreal from his girlfriend’s house.
The four of them talked about shooting at Maurizzi’s home. Villarreal was then dropped back off at his girlfriend’s home.
In the car, Casillas tried shooting the gun at Maurizzi’s house, but it didn’t fire. The group then picked up Alfredo and Martin Villarreal. Martin Villarreal has not been charged in the shooting.
Sorg told police that Alfredo Villarreal fired the gun out of the window at Maurizzi’s house and Brittain drove them away.
Martin Villarreal told police that in the car his window went down without him rolling it down. Martin Villarreal said he then ducked down and Alfredo Villarreal shot the gun out the window at Maurizzi’s home.
Sorg told police that they returned to her home in Elkhorn and Villarreal and Casillas wiped the prints off the gun. Casillas told Sorg he buried the firearm in a backyard.
LG employee arrested for theftFebruary 20, 2014
A city of Lake Geneva employee was arrested last week in connection with the theft of a trailer.
The employee was arrested Feb. 11 on charges of theft under $2,500 and felony misconduct in office.
More arrests expected in drug bustFebruary 20, 2014
ELKHORN — In the last two weeks, the Walworth County Sheriff Department’s Drug Unit arrested eight people in connection with a heroin distribution ring in the Lake Geneva and Delavan areas.
Authorities arrested Jamaal T. Shellie, 33, Waukegan, Ill., on Feb. 7, and he has been charged with seven counts of delivering heroin. Law enforcement officials have said that Shellie was the ringleader of the heroin ring. He is currently in custody in the Walworth County jail in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.
Probation violation?February 20, 2014
ELKHORN — An East Troy mom, whose twin infants drowned in a bathtub in September 2011, was arrested last month on drug charges, and, despite being on probation, is not in custody.