New Richmond man charged with reckless homicide in pursuit case that left Stillwater motorcyclist dead
A New Richmond man whose run from authorities resulted in the death of 39-year-old Dustin Edward Kalland of Stillwater reached speeds of 80 mph prior to the collision on Main Street in downtown Deer Park, according to charging documents filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
Brandon Michael Lieffring, 37, who allegedly fled authorities around 4:12 p.m. July 6, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide, homicide by vehicle — use of controlled substance, fleeing an officer — cause death, and knowingly operating while suspended — cause death, all felonies, and made his initial appearance in court July 9, according to court records.
St. Croix County Assistant District Attorney Megan Kelly said Lieffring admitted to smoking meth the day of the crash and "began blaming everyone but himself for what happened."
St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman followed Kelly's recommendation to hold Lieffring on $100,000 cash bond. His defense attorney, public defender Brian Smestad, said the amount is virtually irrelevant since Lieffring's parole will be revoked.
"He's going to be revoked, there's no doubt about that," Smestad told Waterman.
Lieffring also was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and five counts of felony bail jumping.
All 10 charges carry the repeater modifier. The repeater modification allows for a heavier sentence upon conviction. In Lieffring's case, that could be an additional six years since the underlying offense is a 2015 conviction for manufacturing or delivering drugs. Lieffring served two years in prison for that Polk County offense.
The July 6 incident is under investigation by the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office. The external agencies were requested to investigate per state statute, according to a St. Croix County Sheriff's Office news release.
According to the complaint:
Skid marks, which began outside Deer's Bar, continued for roughly 250 feet down Main Street in Deer Park and ended where the Jeep Lieffring used to evade authorities sat with a motorcycle pinned beneath the front.
Lieffring's girlfriend told authorities the two of them stayed in a Super 8 Motel in Menomonie the night of Friday, July 5.
The next morning, she said, they drove to a friend's house in Amery where she got a ride to work — Lieffring rode along in the back of the car so as not to be seen by those at her job because of a no-contact order between them.
On their way to Amery Saturday morning, the girlfriend told police, Lieffring hit her several times, which is something he's done in the past. She said their relationship had been "violent."
Once she was at work, the girlfriend told police, Lieffring called her continuously and sent her numerous threatening messages on Facebook. After a little while, she said she noticed her Jeep outside of her workplace so she had a coworker contact authorities.
Lieffring drove by again while she was speaking to a deputy.
Lieffring told police in an interview the day of the chase that he knew police were chasing him, he knew he hit someone and that he regularly uses methamphetamine and had smoked meth earlier that day.
Video footage of the pursuit from a New Richmond Police officer revealed traffic was "light to medium with no real evasive actions occurring prior to Deer Park," and radio traffic could be heard "that the pursuit is entering Deer Park an (sic) approximate 80 mph."
After the crash, Lieffring fled on foot and was caught approximately two blocks from where he left his vehicle.
At the time he was apprehended, Lieffring blamed the crash on the sheriff's department and his girlfriend.
A preliminary hearing is set for 8:45 a.m. July 23.