Charges filed Tuesday describe the unnerving circumstances in which a West Baraboo man allegedly left his 4-year-old daughter behind after she was thrown out of the window in a drunken driving crash.
Investigators say 25-year-old Alex L. Shultis’ pickup truck was severely damaged. Its rear windows had been shattered and its head lights were not working after it rolled into a ditch while trying to negotiate a turn Friday night along County Highway T in the town of Fairfield.
Shultis’ twin 1-year old girls were secured in car seats in the back of the truck wearing nothing but diapers, and were covered with glass and debris from the crash, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday by the Sauk County District Attorney’s Office.
It was around 8 p.m., and the temperature was in the 30s when Shultis decided to flee the scene, driving about 9 miles back to his apartment in the village of West Baraboo, the complaint states.
Authorities were contacted by bystanders who found Shultis’ 4-year-old daughter walking along the road near the scene of the crash. Witnesses said the girl — who suffered minor injuries — was screaming for her father.
Around 8:30 p.m., another deputy was called to Shultis’ apartment complex on Connie Road, where he allegedly was arguing with several people in the parking lot.
When questioned by the deputy, Shultis initially denied that he had just been in an accident, and said his truck had been damaged in a crash several days before. The deputy reported that there were numerous opened and unopened cans of beer in the truck.
Shultis later changed his story, the deputy reported. He said he began drinking beer around 2:30 p.m. after he got off work and was on medication that is not supposed to be mixed with alcohol, according to the complaint.
Shultis allegedly admitted to fleeing the scene of the crash, but said he did not realize his 4-year-old daughter was no longer in the truck until he got about 1 mile down the road.
When asked why he proceeded to return to his apartment after he realized his daughter had been ejected, Shultis allegedly responded that it was because his headlights were not working. He said he planned to get a different vehicle and come back to the scene to look for his daughter, according to the complaint.
Investigators calculated the drive from the scene of the crash to Shultis’ apartment would typically take about 19 minutes.
Prosecutors charged Shultis with three felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, and one felony count of causing injury by drunken driving with a child passenger. He also faces misdemeanor charges of driving drunk with a child (two counts), child neglect (three counts), and obstructing an officer.
Shultis was issued traffic citations for violating child safety restraint requirements, failure to keep his vehicle under control, inattentive driving, failure to notify police of an accident and having open intoxicants in the vehicle.
In court Tuesday, Sauk County Assistant District Attorney Sue Mueller requested a $2,500 cash bond for Shultis. Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Guy Reynolds set bond at $1,000 cash.
If he is released, Shultis must maintain absolute sobriety and submit to breath tests as requested by law enforcement. He also may not drive without a valid license or with a child in the vehicle, and is not to have unsupervised contact with his three children. He is due to appear in court Dec. 29.