EAU CLAIRE — A man was struck in the head with a metal pipe during an altercation at an Eau Claire residence, police say.

Thomas J. Keppert, 57, of Eau Claire, was charged Monday in Eau Claire County Court with a felony count of substantial battery and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.

A $2,000 signature bond was set for Keppert, which prohibits him from having contact with the victim. Keppert returns to court Tuesday, Oct. 12, for a preliminary hearing.

According to the criminal complaint:

An Eau Claire police officer met with the victim at 1:20 a.m. Sept. 18 at the intersection of Agnes Street and Sherwin Avenue regarding the assault on Altoona Avenue. The man said he had been staying at the Altoona Avenue residence with his friend.

Keppert was also at the residence and had been using the man’s mobile hot spot on his cellphone. The man said he turned off this hot spot, which disconnected Keppert from the internet.

Keppert got upset and began to yell at the man. The two began to argue and Keppert grabbed a two-foot metal pipe and struck the man over the head.

The man said he never lost consciousness or fell to the ground. He then left the residence and walked to this intersection to call police. He initially declined medical attention, but changed his mind about two hours later when he began to feel lightheaded.

The officer drove the man to the emergency department at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital. A doctor told the officer the man he had a laceration that would take one or two staples to close. The man was also assessed for a possible concussion.

Keppert contacted police six days later to provide his version of events. He denied that any argument or altercation took place.

Keppert said the man often loses his balance and assumed he fell and injured himself.

Keppert is being prosecuted as a repeat offender. He was convicted of a felony count of possession of methamphetamine in December 2017 in Chippewa County.

If convicted of the felony charge, Keppert could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com