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Teen’s death leads to felony charge

Criminal charges were filed against a New London man for a pedestrian fatality that occurred in July 2014.

Gage M. Howard, 21, was charged Tuesday with felony hit and run resulting in the death of 18-year-old Tyler Court and with obstructing an officer.

At approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday, July 12, 2014, Waupaca County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 8200 block of Collier Road in the town of Lebanon. A 911 caller reported that a vehicle struck a pedestrian, who was not breathing and had no pulse.

Deputy Josh Krueger spoke to the woman who reported the incident. She said she and her friend had been driving down Collier Road when they saw a white Chevy Blazer parked along the road.

According to the criminal complaint, the driver, who was later identified as Howard, ran up to them and yelled, “Stop. A guy just got hit up there.”

The woman said they saw a second man kneeling on the ground next to the injured victim. He was screaming hysterically, “We hit him! We hit him!”

Howard allegedly told the second man, “Shut up, I don’t need this.”

Witnesses told Krueger that Howard flipped the victim onto his back and gave him CPR. They said Howard then drove away while the second man remained with Court.

The second man said he had been a passenger in Howard’s car at the time of the crash. He also told police that he was holding the New London teen when he took his final breath.

After hearing Howard’s name, the caller and her friend looked him up on Facebook and identified Howard as the driver from photos they found posted there.

At about 3:20 a.m., deputies say Howard returned to the scene, this time as a passenger in a different car.

Deputy Bill Zeamer, who spoke with Howard, reported that he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and failed to pass field sobriety tests. Zeamer also observed blood on Howard’s right shin and below his left knee.

Howard told Zeamer that he heard someone had been hit, but he had been at a party the entire time, the complaint says.

Howard gave investigators a set of keys for his white Blazer and told them it was parked in the barn where the party had been held. Deputy Matt Whitaker later located the Blazer at the barn.

In addition to the recent criminal charges, Howard was cited on July 14, 2014, with refusing to take an intoxication test and on July 15, 2014, with a first offense of operating while intoxicated. Both of those cases are still open.

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