SAWYER COUNTY -- A single-vehicle crash that occurred in February 2020 and injured three people has resulted in felony charges for the driver.
On February 8, 2020, Sawyer County Dispatch received a call reporting a single-vehicle crash at STH 48 and Wooddale Road with injuries to the people in the vehicle. Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department responded, along with Birchwood Fire and EMS.
At the scene, Deputies found a log truck loaded with logs and parked on the side of the road with a green Plymouth Neon that appeared to have struck the rear of the truck. The front end of the Neon was still under the log truck and the occupants were no longer in the vehicle.
Deputies spoke with the driver of the log truck who said that he had driven the log truck out of the trail out of the wood line just prior to the crash. It was dark at the time of the crash, and the driver stated that he had checked both directions on the roadway prior to pulling out but did not see any headlights. Just as the truck was starting to pick up a little speed, the Neon ‘came out of nowhere’, struck the log truck from behind, and caught fire.
The driver of the log truck stopped the truck, ran to the Neon and attempted to douse the flames with a fire extinguisher from the truck. He saw a male driver and a female passenger in the front seat, and a child passenger in the rear of the vehicle. The truck driver was able to get the child passenger, age 9, out of the vehicle, and then the male driver of the vehicle. A passerby stopped and assisted with getting the female passenger out of the vehicle.
Injuries were sustained by all three people in the Neon and all three were transported for medical care. At the time of this post, DrydenWire does not have further information as to the outcome of the injuries sustained during the crash.
The driver was identified as Ross Orlikowski, of Birchwood, WI. Initially, when deputies spoke with Orlikowski, he said that he was driving, swerved, and struck a deer. A Deputy asked Orlikowski if he was sure he had struck a deer or if he had struck a truck. Orlikowski looked at the log truck and said, “well, that could be what I hit”.
When Deputies spoke with Orlikowski again regarding what happened, he then said that he couldn’t really remember before going on to tell Deputies that the female in the vehicle was driving, swerved, and struck a deer.
Orlikowski cooperated with an evidentiary blood draw and the results of the test indicated that his blood alcohol content was 0.13 according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
Charges of Felony Operating While Intoxicated Causing Injury - 2nd and Subsequent Offense, Minor Child in the Vehicle; and Felony Operating With Prohibited Alcohol Concentration Causing Injury - 2nd+ Offense, Minor Child in Vehicle were filed against Orlikowski in March 2020. If convicted as charged, Orlikowski faces a possible sentence of 12 years in prison.
Online circuit court records show that due to restrictions placed on court appearances because of COVID-19, a telephone hearing was held on April 14, 2020, and the Court placed Orlikowski on a $10,000 signature bond with a $750 cash condition. Orlikowski was given until April 21 to post the cash or he may be placed in custody. He is due to appear again regarding his criminal charges in June 2020.
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.