A Portage man accused of pepper-spraying a DeForest man is one of five people facing charges after a highway dispute turned into a physical confrontation in a Poynette parking lot.
Austan Bardell, 19, is charged with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, one count of misdemeanor bail jumping and one count of felony bail jumping for the altercation in which hi smother was involved.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Columbia County Dispatch Center received a report of a fight in the parking lot of the Poynette McDonald’s, during which someone used pepper spray and one person screamed, “It’s attempted murder!”
A deputy and detective with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office met Anthony Rogers, 21, of DeForest, at the nearby gas station. The officers reported that Rogers’ eyes were red and he told them he had been hit with pepper spray. He had been in a vehicle driving from Portage to Poynette with Cheyanne Smith, 19, of Oxford, and Lakota Eggleston, 20, of Dalton, he told officers, when another car pulled alongside them, with the passengers yelling and making obscene gestures.
When Rogers and the other two arrived at the McDonald’s at County Highway CS, the other vehicle followed, parked behind them and prevented them from leaving. Everyone got out of the vehicles and an argument ensued, he told officers. Rogers said when he saw Erik Hedberg, 43, slap Smith, he then shoved Hedberg and then Bardell pepper-sprayed Rogers, who then ran to the nearby gas station.
The responding deputy also spoke to Hedberg and Bardell’s mother, Patricia Copus, 45, who told the officer that Copus had been driving them, with Bardell, to McDonald’s where Bardell was going to meet someone. But at the Highway CS exit, the other car pulled up and the occupants started swearing at them, with Rogers throwing a beer can at them, Copus said.
After parking the other vehicle at the McDonald’s lot, Copus said Rogers and Eggleston started to beat Hedberg, who said that he only tried to push them away and did not fight back. Copus also told the officers that the people from the other vehicle surrounded her and pulled her down by the hair and Smith punched her in the face.
Copus is charged with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and felony bail jumping, while Hedberg was charged with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and two counts of felony bail jumping.
Smith is charged with one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and Rogers is charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and bail jumping.
Bardell appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court via video from Columbia County Jail on Monday, forgoing representation by the Public Defender’s Office through his initial appearance.
District Attorney Jane Kohlwey pointed out Bardell’s two other open cases — one felony and one misdemeanor.
“He also shows by his continued statements in the courtroom that he does not recognize, necessarily, the authority of the court or the necessity of any type of assistance in dealing with these very serious charges,” Kohlwey said.
Judge W. Andrew Voigt ordered Bardell be held on $500 cash bond, with his release conditional on having no contact with any of the co-defendants in the case — including Copus.
“How can I have no contact with my mother?” Bardell asked.
“Because the court ordered it as such and you are not a child,” Voigt responded.
Bardell is scheduled to appear next in court for a Nov. 30 preliminary hearing.
Rogers appeared in court on Monday as a walk-in, charged with misdemeanor operating a vehicle after revocation of a license and bail jumping, and was issued a signature bond and return date.
Copus is charged with felony bail jumping and misdemeanor disorderly conduct with an initial court appearance pending.
Hedberg, charged with two counts of felony bail jumping and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, is also awaiting a court date.
Smith has been issued a citation for one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.