HAYWARD, Wis. -- (DrydenWire) -- Felony charges have been filed against a man for allegedly hitting a person with a vehicle while intoxicated, resulting in injuries to the person.
A criminal complaint has been filed in Sawyer County Circuit Court charging Van Kirk Loren Fairbanks, of Ojibwa, WI, with Class F Felony First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety; Class H Felony Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury - 2nd Offense; and Misdemeanor Resisting an Officer.
The charges were filed following law enforcement’s investigation into an incident that occurred on December 20, 2021, during which Fairbanks allegedly struck a person with his vehicle while he was intoxicated and injured them.
The Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a crash on County Highway G in Ojibwa Township at around 7:30p in the vicinity of the Wannigan Bar. Deputies who responded to the scene found a truck in the south ditch. No one was found in the truck at that time. A man approached a Deputy at the scene and stated that a lot of yelling had been heard and then a white SUV-type vehicle had been observed driving away from the truck that was in the ditch. The white SUV entered the Wannigan Bar parking lot, did several “donuts”, then left traveling westbound on County Highway G. The witness also said that he had located another man, who was covered in a lot of blood, walking down County Highway G. This man told the witness that he had been run over by a white SUV. The witness gave the injured man a ride to another location where the man asked to be dropped off, stating that he was going to walk to a friend’s house.
A short time after that, the injured man was located. He was a passenger in a vehicle that a Deputy located on Dorscheid Road. The injured man stated that he had been trying to help Fairbanks pull his vehicle out of the ditch. After getting Fairbanks’ vehicle out, Fairbanks had accelerated his own vehicle, however, the chain was still attached to the injured man’s vehicle. This resulted in the injured man’s vehicle going into the ditch. The injured man exited his vehicle and began talking to Fairbanks while standing in front of Fairbanks’ vehicle. The criminal complaint states that Fairbanks then accelerated his vehicle again, dragging the injured man approximately half a block. The injured man told the Deputy that he could hear Fairbanks yelling “I’m going to f*cking kill you!”. A Sheriff’s Deputy transported the injured man to his home and requested EMS to respond. The injured man was then transported by EMS for medical care where it was determined that he had sustained multiple large scrapes, a puncture wound, and a possible fractured leg.
Sheriff’s Deputies located Fairbanks during this time on County Highway G just north of State Highway 27/70. Fairbanks was taken into custody and transported to the Sawyer County Jail. The criminal complaint states that when Fairbanks was located, he was in his running vehicle which was parked in the lane of travel. Fairbanks exited his vehicle when the Deputy parked the Squad vehicle. Fairbanks was breathing heavily and appeared to be in distress and upset. He was walking back and forth, and then without prompting from the Deputy, Fairbanks placed his hands behind his back and began walking back towards the Deputy.
The Deputy advised Fairbanks that he was being detained until it was determined what was going on, Fairbanks responded "that's fine, just take me in man". The Deputy could smell a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Fairbanks and also noticed that his speech was slowed and slurred and his eyes were glossy and bloodshot. Fairbanks declined to do field sobriety testing, stating, "no, I am not even going to bother, just take me in man". While en route to the jail, Fairbanks became emotional and upset, kicking aggressively at the inside of the squad car.
Fairbanks refused to supply a voluntary sample of blood. The Deputy obtained a search warrant for his blood and a sample was retrieved. Results of any testing on that blood were not included with the criminal complaint at the time of this post.
At a bail bond hearing on December 22, 2021, the Hon. John Yackel ordered a $25,000 cash bond for Fairbanks with conditions that he maintain absolute sobriety, have no contact with the victim, and be subject to testing of his breath, blood, and urine. Fairbanks appeared again on December 29, 2021, for an initial appearance on his charges. He is scheduled to appear again in January 2022.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.