Almost three hours passed before a woman — severely injured Aug. 31 after exiting a moving SUV — received medical attention, a detective testified Tuesday.
Video surveillance obtained from Silver Spring Foods, 2424 Alpine Road, on Eau Claire’s northwest side, showed someone exiting the passenger side of a southbound vehicle at 1:05 a.m. that morning and rolling, Eau Claire police Detective Ryan Lambeseder said.
“Once she stopped rolling, she didn’t move after that,” said the detective, the only witness called during a preliminary hearing for Girard R. Jones.
Jones, 41, of Chippewa Falls, was charged Sept. 4 in Eau Claire County Court with one felony count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and one misdemeanor count each of failing to aid a victim or report a crime, and violating a foreign protection order.
Following Lambeseder’s testimony Tuesday, Eau Claire County Judge John Manydeeds bound Jones over for trial.
During Jones’ initial appearance on Sept. 4, Manydeeds set his bond at $50,000 cash. He remains in the Eau Claire County Jail.
According to the criminal complaint:
At 4:08 a.m. Aug. 31, Eau Claire police received a report of a woman with severe head trauma who was dropped off at the Mayo Clinic Heath System in Eau Claire emergency room a short time earlier by a man who then left the hospital. A portion of the unconscious woman’s skull had to be removed by medical staff to relieve the pressure on her brain.
Mayo security was able to provide surveillance video of the male who had dropped the woman off, and a detective recognized him as a man with whom he had prior contact.
Officers tracked him down at his job, and he told them he met up with a woman, and they went to a house in the 600 block of Galloway Street, where he waited in the vehicle. (Lambeseder said Tuesday they were at the home in search of drugs.) When she came back outside, the woman told the man he needed to take a woman to the hospital.
The woman he was with told him the other woman — who was in the back seat of a dark blue SUV parked in front of the house — had fallen out of the vehicle earlier. The man said he didn’t want to get involved, but he agreed after he was told the injured woman would just be left there.
After dropping the injured woman off, the man said he headed back to Chippewa Falls in the SUV to meet the other woman, stopping for gas along the way in Altoona at a Kwik Trip across from Woodman’s Market. From video surveillance from the gas station, a detective located the SUV and its license plate number. The vehicle was listed to a woman, and in viewing images of her, she appeared to be the person at Mayo Clinic Health System.
Once police learned her identity, they discovered there was a restraining order in place against Jones out of Olmsted County, Minn., which was issued on Nov. 27, 2017, in connection with a criminal case in which Jones was charged with domestic assault.
Jones was taken into custody in Chippewa County around 6 p.m. Aug. 31 after leading officers on a chase that began in Chippewa Falls and continued in Chippewa County, entering Lake Hallie and Eau Claire.
“He was sweating profusely and acting paranoid” at the time of his arrest, Lambeseder said.
Jones told police he had been driving the woman’s SUV south on Highway T, and she was in the vehicle with him, but she jumped out and was injured.
Jones’ interview led detectives to the area of North Clairemont Avenue and Alpine Road, where they were able to locate evidence and confirm that was where the incident had taken place.
During the interview, Jones said the woman walked back to the vehicle on her own, Lambeseder said Tuesday. However, the video from Silver Spring Foods showed the SUV’s brake lights come on after someone left the passenger side of the vehicle, the SUV turn around and return to where the woman’s body was, and the driver exit and place the person back in the vehicle.
Lambeseder estimated the SUV’s speed at 45 mph when the woman exited the vehicle.
Upon questioning from public defender Susan Falch, Lambeseder said the identity of the driver couldn’t be determined from the video, which also did not show what the driver was doing when the person exited the SUV.
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