News – July 23, 2020

(Rio) Columbia County prosecutors have charged a Rio man with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle for a fatal accident last Friday morning. Cash bond set at $50,000 for Mitchell Merkes and a pre-trial conference is scheduled for August. Authorities say the 29-year-old was driving a pickup truck that went off of Genrich (Jen-Rich) Road at a high rate of speed and hit a mailbox. His passenger, 31-year-old Zachary Austin of Rio, died at the scene. Merkes was found in the woods about a mile from the crash scene. He has three prior OWI convictions.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials reported 712 positive coronavirus cases in Wednesday’s daily update, which is 4.8-percent of the 14,000 tests announced. There are 9,285 active cases in the state, down 84 from Tuesday. State health officials recorded six more deaths, bringing that number to 865. Dodge County has five deaths on record and 584 cases, an increase of seven from Tuesday. County health officials are actively monitoring 67 people while 275 have recovered.

(Waupun) A John C. Burke Correctional inmate is facing Escape charges after failing to return with a prison transport van he was driving to pick up other inmates. Joshua Bonin was tasked with picking up two other prisoners working at Taycheedah Correctional when he allegedly parked the vehicle at a Walmart in May. According to the criminal complaint, deputies spotted Bonin walking down a road several hours later and took him into custody. He allegedly admitted his plans to cash in a hidden coin collection in Michigan to give to relatives. If convicted, the 35-year-old faces an additional six years behind bars. An initial appearance is scheduled for September.

(Beaver Dam) Dodge County Sheriff’s deputies cited two people in one car for drunk driving. The vehicle was speeding on Highway 33 near County P in the Town of Rubicon just before midnight on Tuesday when authorities initiated a traffic stop. Deputies observed the driver and a passenger switch seats after stopping. A 33-year-old Jackson man was cited for second offense OWI while a 26-year-old Jackson man earned his first OWI. Twenty minutes after that call, deputies responded to reports of a white work van driving northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 151. The driver was pulled over near Breezy Point Road in the Town of Trenton and cited for first offense OWI.

(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Police conducted and alcohol compliance sweep in the city on Tuesday. Five businesses were cited for selling alcohol to juveniles including Chill Zone Liquor, Park Avenue Shell, Coyote Gas and Liquor and the Kwik Trips on North Center and North Spring streets. Beaver Dam Police were assisted in the sweep by Dodge County Sheriff’s deputies and members of their youth cadet program.

(Fond du Lac) The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public’s help in locating a man who used a knife to rob a person at an adult store in the Town of Eldorado. The robbery occurred Sunday evening at the XCITE shop on County Highway N. The man used a knife, possibly a utility knife, and demanded money. The suspect was white, 5 foot 6 to 5 foot 9 inches tall, with short dark hair and a tattoo on his right forearm. Anyone with information is asked to call Fond du Lac County authorities.

(Ashippun) A Berlin man who failed to complete several roofing jobs is facing felony charges. Marcus Reinford was hired by two different people to complete roofing projects last August and September. Reinford allegedly admitted to receiving down payments and that he did not complete any of the work he was hired to do. He added that he was no longer going to be performing roofing projects. If convicted, the 26-year-old faces no more than nine-and-a-half years in prison. An initial appearance is scheduled in August.

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers is trying to find places to cut the state budget once again. The governor announced on Wednesday that he’s calling on state agencies to find 250-million dollars in cuts. That’s after Evers was forced to cut 70 million dollars in the last fiscal year. In the last round most of those cuts came from the UW System, and interim System President Tommy Thompson says he’s hoping that the Universities won’t have to endure another round of major cuts, as they’ll already be seeing revenue losses because of the pandemic.

(Wisconsin) A bipartisan group of current and former Wisconsin public officials are part of an effort for a safe and secure election in November. The “VoteSafe” initiative aims to make sure that there is both in-person and absentee voting this fall. The group’s co-chair is former Wisconsin Republican Attorney General J-B Van Hollen. He says absentee voting must be secure. He says he has no problems with voting by mail, but that he’s concerned about mass-mailing absentee ballot applications to homes across Wisconsin.