Brooklyn-area man arrested in Janesville traffic death

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

JANESVILLE--Police have arrested a rural Brooklyn man on suspicion of drinking and driving in a May crash that killed a Janesville man.

Leon E. Bridges 28, of W985 Yarwood Road, Brooklyn, was arrested Monday, according to a Janesville police news release.

Bridges, who has been recovering from injuries he suffered in the crash, was formally charged Oct. 18 with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle after a prior intoxicant-related conviction or revocation and causing injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

The single-vehicle crash occurred around 2:30 p.m. May 3 on Court Street near Austin Road on the city’s west side.

Bridges’ blood-alcohol concentration was 0.204, more than twice the legal limit, according to the criminal complaint.

The SUV was speeding west on Court Street when it drifted off the road. The driver over-corrected and crossed the center line, and the vehicle entered the ditch and hit a tree, police said at the time of the crash.

Bridges was the driver, and the crash resulted in the death of passenger Calvin M. Hanchett of Janesville and the serious injury to another passenger, Michael D. Asmus of Janesville, according to the release.

Hanchett and Bridges were thrown from the vehicle, and Bridges was critically injured and spent several months in rehabilitation, according to the release.

Asmus suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and lower back, according to the complaint.

Asmus told investigators Hanchett and Bridges had been drinking most of the day, according to the complaint.

Asmus was the only one in the SUV wearing his seat belt, and Asmus noticed the Nissan Pathfinder was going 70 mph near the top of the hill on Court Street near Sunset Drive, according to the complaint.

A dog also was riding in the SUV. Its injuries were so severe that a veterinarian ended its life, authorities said at the time.

Bridges is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 30.

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