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Man suspected of hit-and-run after crash with bicyclist

A St. Croix County sheriff's deputy removes a bicycle from a ditch Nov. 30 along Highway 12 near Roberts. Authorities allege the bike was ridden by a homeless man struck by a drunk driver. Mike Longaecker / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Brian D. Warwick2 / 2

TOWN OF WARREN — Prosecutors allege a Roberts man's alcohol concentration was nearly three times the legal limit when he struck a homeless bicyclist and drove off last week in St. Croix County.

St. Croix County prosecutors charged the driver, 43-year-old Brian D. Warwick, with two felonies — OWI causing injury and hit and run causing injury — along with misdemeanor OWI-third offense following the Nov. 30 incident along Highway 12.

The bicyclist, 52-year-old Edward Bridges, was recovering last week at Regions Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition Friday. According to the charging document, Bridges, of Peoria, Ill., is homeless and was riding through the area at the time of the crash.

Warwick made his initial court appearance Dec. 1 in St. Croix County Circuit Court, where Judge Edward Vlack ordered him to post $2,500 cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint:

The St. Croix County sheriff's deputies were called at about 1 p.m. to the 1000 block of Highway 12 in the town of Warren after a caller reported witnessing a car strike a bicyclist.

The caller said he saw the crash occur in his rearview mirror after he'd passed the bicyclist. The caller began following Warwick after noticing that he didn't stop for the crash. He phoned in details of the incident to dispatchers while following Warwick, who later admitted to attempting to "lose" the caller.

Deputies eventually caught up with Warwick and stopped him on Alexander Road near Highway 12. He admitted to being in a crash, telling deputies he was driving from Roberts to the Twin Cities to buy a cellphone.

Warwick admitted he wasn't paying attention to the road and initially thought he'd struck a deer. After detecting the smell of alcohol coming from him, deputies questioned him about his drinking that day. Warwick said he'd consumed "less than a pint" of vodka in the morning, the complaint states.

Warwick performed field-sobriety tests before providing a breath test, which revealed a 0.22 blood-alcohol level.

Asked by deputies if he was under the influence, Warwick responded, "I would imagine so," the complaint states. He also admitted to consuming numerous prescription medications earlier in the day.

A check of Warwick's record revealed his license had been canceled and that he had two previous drunken driving convictions — one from 2005 in Wisconsin and another from last year in Minnesota.

A preliminary hearing in the case was set for Friday, Dec. 8.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin. 

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