By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — A 21-year-old Cadott man has been arrested on two counts of homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and operating a vehicle while intoxicated following an accident on I-94 near Elk Mound early Saturday morning.
Michael D. Sonnentag was arrested as the suspect who caused the accident that killed two people and injured six others when he was found walking along Stokke Parkway in Menomonie later Saturday morning at 6:45 a.m.
According to a news release from the Wisconsin State Patrol, Dunn County and the state patrol began receiving phone calls around 2:40 a.m. reporting a two-vehicle crash on westbound I-94 near mile marker 55 and that one of the vehicles had left the scene.
Law enforcement officials discovered that the vehicle remaining at the scene of the accident, which turned out to be a van, had left the roadway, overturned and was situated in the tree line along the north ditch.
Two passengers were prounded dead at the scene, and six other passengers were transported to hospitals in Eau Claire with non-life-threatening injuries.
The two people who were killed were not wearing seatbelts and were thrown from the vehicle, but all of those who were injured were wearing seatbelts, according to the news release.
State troopers on the scene found a black hood that had been ripped from the vehicle that left the scene and determined the hood was from a 1990s Toyota.
According to the state patrol news release, at around 4 p.m., Dunn County deputies found a black 1995 Toyota Camry with a heavy front end damage parked on a dead-end town road near the intersection of U.S. Highway 12/state Highway 29 and county Highway B. There was no one in or near the vehicle.
According to a news release from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, Dunn County deputies, with the assistance of Dunn County’s K-9 unit and a K-9 unit from St. Croix County, as well as officers from the Menomonie Police Department, began searching for the suspect.
Officers also checked buildings in the area and large fields.
At around 6 a.m., a Code Red message was sent out to telephones within a two-mile radius of the suspect vehicle’s location.
Dunn County deputies located the owner and driver of the vehicle at around 6:45 a.m. when he was walking along Stokke Parkway not far from the Dunn County Highway Department.
According to the news release from the sheriff’s department, Sonnentag said he was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Sonnentag was arrested and taken to the Dunn County jail. He appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court on Monday, October 13, for a bail hearing.
All of the people in the van were from out of state. The two people who died were a 28-year-old woman, Larci Ricafrente from Waterford, Mich., and another 28-year-old woman, Djamella Sugatan from the Philippines.
Those who were injured included Alvin D. Dimaranan, a 33-year-old man from Schiller Park, Illinois; Leah Lim Ricafrente, a 32-year-old woman from Schiller Park; Luisito L. Ricafrente, a 24-year-old man from Schiller Park; Lison R. Dimaranan, a 7-year-old girl from Schiller Park; Jovita Dela Cruz Alegre, a 55-year-old woman from Skokie, Illinois; and Anthan V. Dimaranan, a 5-year-old boy from Schiller Park.