$55,000 cash bond imposed in unborn child's death

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Frank Schultz
Monday, May 4, 2015

JANESVILLE—Bail was set at $55,000 cash Monday for a Janesville man accused of intoxicated driving, leading to the death of an unborn child and injuries to four others.

Brandon L. Russell, 26, of 4722 W. Graham St., had been arrested for intoxicated driving three previous times. He admitted he smoked marijuana Thursday before picking up his twin children in Brodhead and heading back to Janesville, according to the criminal complaint.

Russell faces charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle/unborn child, four counts of operating while intoxicated causing injury, driving while intoxicated, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of bail jumping.

Russell was ordered to have no contact with the mother who lost her child, her 4-year-old son or Russell's 2-year-old twins, all of whom were injured in the crash on Highway 11 in Orfordville on Thursday afternoon.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan, noting the gravity of the accusations and the fact Russell still has a pending intoxicated-driving case from last October, called for the cash bond, no-contact restrictions, and forbade Russell to drink or drive.

Sullivan also cited Russell's attitude about smoking marijuana and driving.

Russell admitted he had smoked marijuana at lunch and again as he drove to pick up his children in Brodhead, the criminal complaint indicates.

“All I did was smoke a bowl of marijuana. It's not like I am high,” Russell is quoted as saying in the criminal complaint.

“The defendant did not seem to understand that smoking marijuana and driving were illegal,” the complaint states.

Russell told investigators that just before the accident, he heard one of his children saying “Daddy, Daddy,” and he looked away from the road for an instant and went into the ditch.

He drove out of the ditch and lost control, crashing into the pregnant woman's oncoming car, the complaint indicates.

The pregnant woman was bleeding from cuts on her arm, the complaint states. Her 4-year-old suffered multiple injuries, including a concussion.

The twins had cuts on their faces, and Russell was cut on his head, the complaint states.

The unborn child had a pulse, but it was low, and doctors performed an emergency cesarean section at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville. The girl died during the procedure, the complaint states.

Court Commissioner Larry Barton agreed with Sullivan in setting the cash bond, saying the purposes of bail include protecting the public and to assure the defendant's appearance in court.

The homicide charge carries a maximum prison term of 40 years. The driving intoxicated causing injury charges carry maximum prison terms of 12 years each.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for 11 a.m. Monday, May 11.



Last updated: 8:38 pm Monday, May 4, 2015

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