A truck driver has been sentenced to one year in prison after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene in Wisconsin last year.
The accident happened on October 11th of 2021 in DeForest, Wisconsin. 55-year-old trucker Eric Schroder pleaded guilty to the hit-and-run on August 1st, and was sentenced to five years probation, one year in jail on Tuesday, September 27th.
Wisconsin State Journal reports that Schroder was driving his truck on Highway V in DeForest on a rainy night when he struck the 18-year-old woman and fled the scene. Further details of the crash are not known, but Schroder has not been charged with causing the crash, only with leaving the scene.
The woman was eventually found lying in the road by her parents, who had gone out looking for her.
“But for her parents finding her,” said Circuit Judge Ellen Berz, “we could be sitting here with a much more serious offense.”
As a result of the accident, the woman sustained bleeding in her brain, skull and spinal fractures, fractures to her face and nose, a broken leg, fractured ribs, and lacerations to her spleen, liver, and kidney. She spent a month in the hospital, went through extensive rehabilitation, and continues to recover to this day. She was able to graduate high school despite missing the first semester of her Senior year due to her injuries.
Schroder was only identified as the truck driver in the incident after police received a tip from an employee at his trucking company. The woman told police that Schroder had not shown up for work and when they finally were able to contact him, he said he struck a deer. The woman told police that incidents such as striking deer are required to be reported to the company immediately, but that Schroder did not do so.
When police contacted Schroder, he told officers that he had not seen anyone, and then later claimed he hit a deer.
“If you thought you had hit a deer you would have said so, but you didn’t,” Berz said. “You may have hoped and wished and prayed that what you hit was a deer, I have no doubt about that. No matter how you tried to convince yourself, you knew you hit a person.”
Schroder did not admit he had hit someone until police confronted him with evidence left at the scene. Schroder then admitted to hitting the woman, who he said was walking in the road. He says after he realized what happened, he got scared, drove his truck to his car, and went home.
Berz sentenced Schroder to one year in jail, five years probation after rejecting Assistant District Attorney Frank Remington’s recommendation of three years, claiming that Schroder does not appear to pose a threat to public safety.
Schroder is a lifelong truck driver with no prior criminal record.
“I don’t have any excuse for having driven off,” Schroder said on Tuesday. “I relive the accident every night.”