MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A New Richmond, Wisconsin man faces 10 criminal charges following a police pursuit that ended in a motorcyclist’s death over the weekend, and appeared in court Tuesday.
Brandon Lieffring, 37, faces several felony charges, including first degree reckless homicide, jumping bail, fleeing police, and using methamphetamine.
On Saturday afternoon, the sheriff’s office was called on a report of a stolen vehicle after Lieffring allegedly violated a no-contact order with a woman in Star Prairie Township.
Deputies tried to stop Lieffring, who was driving a Jeep Liberty, just north of New Richmond, but he refused to pull over. A vehicle pursuit began, which authorities said at times reached speeds approaching 100 miles per hour.
The pursuit went north and lasted under 10 minutes before it ended in the Village of Deer Park. Dustin Kalland, 39, was one of several motorcyclists taking a left turn on Main Street. The suspect hit him, got out of the Jeep and ran. Kalland, a father from Stillwater, died at the scene.
Lieffring appeared in a St. Croix County Courtroom handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit during Tuesday’s hearing. He tapped his foot and appeared jittery as the judge read him his list of 10 felony charges, saying “I understand what you’re telling me but I don’t understand.”
According to the criminal complaint, Lieffring stayed at a hotel in Menominee with his girlfriend Friday night, over whom with he has a no-contact order. The next day his girlfriend told police he hit her several times in the back and made several threats so he could have her car. Investigators noting bruising on her face and her hip.
His girlfriend got a ride to work in New Richmond from a friend, while Lieffring hid in the backseat so that he would not be seen with her.
The woman told police the two then got into an argument via Facebook messenger. Lieffring told authorities he said “some pretty bad things” because she was mad at how he treated her.
The woman then noticed her Jeep out front with Lieffring behind the wheel so she called police.
Prosecutors say during the 10-minute chase, Lieffring drove at high rates of speed on country roads, frequently on the wrong side of the road. They said he also gave the deputy the middle finger during the chase.
In talking with investigators, Lieffring admitted that he had used methamphetamine earlier in the day, and that he used it regularly, according to the criminal complaint. He also told police the crash was their fault for chasing him, and also his girlfriend’s fault.
Lieffring is charged with first-degree reckless homicide, homicide by vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, fleeing officers resulting in the death of another, knowingly operating a motor vehicle under a suspended license, possessing drug paraphernalia, and five counts of felony bail jumping. The charges, upon conviction, would likely mean life in prison.
Bond was set at $100,000 and he was orderred to have no contact with the victim’s family or his girlfriend.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 23.
This is the fifth traffic death in St. Croix County this year. The sheriff says they’ll be reviewing the incident to determine if a chase was necessary.