Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 17:42
Man who police say was seen on video intentionally killing animal faces charge
A 29-year-old man who police say was caught by video surveillance cameras intentionally running down a deer with his pickup truck near Port Washingtonâ€™s south beach pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing a deer without a
Michael A. Cox of West Bend was charged in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with the misdemeanor in April after video cameras at the We Energies power plant recorded the incident.
According to the criminal complaint, Cox flagged down a police officer at 5:26 a.m. Saturday, April 27, to report that he had accidentally hit a deer on South Beach Road just south of the power plant while he was on his way
to go fishing in the harbor.
Cox told the officer he wanted to claim the dead deer.
But while speaking to Cox, the officer received a call from a dispatcher who said a We Energies employee reported a different version of events.
That employee told police he saw the red Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by Cox accelerate and hit the deer intentionally. And if authorities needed proof, the employee said, the entire incident was caught on power plant
The video confirmed that report, as well as the account of another We Energies employee who told authorities he saw Cox driving north on South Wisconsin Street, then stop at the intersection with South Beach Road where
a number of deer were gathered.
The employee said Cox appeared to be trying to spook the deer by flashing the truckâ€™s headlights and making whistling noises. The deer ran east on South Beach Road and Cox followed, accelerating to a high rate of speed
before hitting one of the animals, the complaint states.
Despite the accounts of witnesses and the video, a passenger in Coxâ€™s truck told police Cox did not intentionally hit the deer.
Cox, however, admitted to spooking the deer and said that as the animals ran away, he â€śgunnedâ€ť his truck and hit one of them, according to the complaint.
He told authorities, â€śIt was more intentional than not,â€ť the complaint states.
If convicted, Cox could be fined between $1,000 and $2,000 and sentenced to six months in jail. He would not be able to hold a hunting, fishing or trapping license for three years.
Cox was also issued a municipal citation for endangering the safety of a person or property by reckless driving.
He is scheduled to meet with prosecutors to discuss a plea agreement in the criminal case on July 8 and appear in court again on Aug. 13.