Teenage boys admit to prank with plastic wrap, DA says
4 in Town of Waukesha may be charged with being delinquent, causing crash
By JACQUELINE SEIBEL, DAVID DOEGE and REID J. EPSTEIN
Posted: Aug. 4, 2004
Waukesha - Four Town of Waukesha teenage boys have admitted they stretched kitchen-variety plastic wrap across a road, causing a motorcyclist and his passenger to crash, Waukesha County District Attorney Paul Bucher said Wednesday.
"They've been very cooperative, very contrite," Bucher said. "It's what we thought might have happened: a group of kids trying to pull a stupid prank that they didn't give a lot of thought to."
The boys, three are 16 and one is 14, each could be accused in juvenile court of being delinquent in petitions similar to what would involve felony counts of second-degree reckless endangerment if they were adults.
The review and charging process for juveniles typically takes 30 to 40 days, "but we plan to expedite that," Bucher said. "We're going to do what we can to try and get it into court next week," he added.
The 14-year-old is too young to be waived into adult court, and while it is possible for 16-year-olds, "I don't think the criteria that a judge has to consider are there (in this instance)," Bucher said.
"At least I don't think so at this point knowing what I know now," he added.
The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department received more than 50 tips regarding the July 13 accident, said sheriff's Detective Steve Pederson.
"We had more than one tip that pointed to two of the individuals," said Pederson, and two of the boys had been interviewed by detectives but were not arrested.
Two days after that interview, Bucher informed the Sheriff's Department that attorneys for the four teens, including the two previously interviewed, had contacted his office. Bucher said the boys' parents were cooperative.
"We had some leads, but we weren't near where we are now after getting their help," Bucher said.
Sheriff Dan Trawicki predicted after the incident that it would turn out to be a prank that had gone wrong involving local residents.
The incident occurred on Guthrie Road, south of Highway I, in the Town of Waukesha.
Daniel Buckel, 22, of the Town of Waukesha has said he didn't see the plastic wrap until it was 10 feet in front of him. It was too late to stop, and there was no way to avoid the tightly wound clear wrap stretched between two traffic posts.
Authorities and Buckel have described the circumstances. It was foggy at 1 a.m. Buckel and his girlfriend, Theresa Brzykcy, 19, of Brookfield were out for a relaxing ride. Because of the poor visibility, Buckel recalls traveling less than 40 mph when he hit the wall of plastic wrap.
The 2002 Honda motorcycle slid across the pavement, and Buckel and Brzykcy landed on a nearby driveway. Buckel broke a finger and needed 15 stitches to close a gash above his eye.
Brzykcy hit the pavement with her head and lost consciousness for a short time but was not seriously injured.
Local attorney Michael Hupy, who has represented many motorcyclists, offered ••••,000 reward to any person who provided information that led to a conviction. He said Wednesday that Trawicki will determine who among the more than 50 tipsters will get the money.
Waukesha County CrimeStoppers also added up to $1,000 to the reward amount.
Buckel has hired Hupy to represent him.
"I'm glad they turned themselves in," Hupy said of the boys, "but the main thing I wanted to do when I offered this reward was to make sure this doesn't happen to another biker."
Hupy said he does not know the boys' identities but that the four had hired separate attorneys.
Hupy promised to take no fee from Buckel, and to donate an amount equal to his fee to a motorcycle safety group.
Buckel said late Wednesday he's relieved that authorities have identified the boys said to be responsible because it means he no longer has to worry.
"It's less stressful not sitting around waiting any more, wondering if I should raise the reward, wondering what else I can do. It's a relief," Buckel said.
Buckel, who lives with his parents and works as a bartender and selling motorcycles, said the crash caused him to miss a combined two weeks of work. He still suffers bad headaches and said he can't afford plastic surgery needed to repair scars above his eyes and nose and on his chin.
"They're going to see that it's going to cost these kids severely," he said. "That's what happens for not thinking before you do act. Any prank - you've got to think before you do it if it's going to hurt someone. I'm just glad to be alive at this point."