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May trial scheduled for man charged with 6 felonies after fatal accident near Elk Mound

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  — A four-day jury trial has been scheduled in May for a man charged with six felonies and five misdemeanors in connection with an accident on I-94 in October near Elk Mound that killed two people and injured six.

Michael D. Sonnentag, 21, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court with his attorney, Harry Hertel, on December 19 for a status conference.

During the status conference, Judge Rod Smeltzer scheduled a jury trial in the case for May 18 through May 21.

Sonnentag is charged with two counts each of homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, hit and run involving death, and first degree recklessly endangering safety, and was also with four misdemeanor counts of  causing injury while intoxicated and one count of bail jumping.

According to the criminal complaint, the Dunn County communications center received reports of a accident on I-94 in the Town of Elk Mound on October 11 at around 2:40 a.m.

When deputies arrived on the scene, they observed a vehicle that had rolled numerous times and was upside-down in the treeline.

Witnesses reported a second vehicle involved in the accident had fled the scene, initially going the wrong way on I-94, but then was observed going westbound again a few minutes later.

Two women who were thrown from the van were killed, and six others in the van were injured.

The injured included two children, a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy.

Alvin Dimaranan, the driver of the Honda minivan, told state troopers that when the accident occurred,  they were traveling from Illinois to the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Dunn County sheriff’s deputies spent the rest of the night looking for Sonnentag.

At around 6:42 a.m., a deputy leaving the Dunn County sheriff’s department at the judicial center on Stokke Parkway saw a man walking.

When the deputy got out of his car and asked the man who he was, he replied, “It’s me” and told the deputy he was the one “they were looking for.”

When deputies asked how Sonnentag had left the scene of the accident, he said he had exited I-94 near Shooter’s just west of Elk Mound.

A cash bail of $50,000 was set October 13, but bail was modified to $20,000 cash following a preliminary hearing on October 29. As a condition of bail, Sonnentag was ordered to consume no alcohol and to maintain residence with his father in Stanley.

Sonnentag lived in Cadott at the time of the accident.

A motion hearing in the case is scheduled for February 3.