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Racine man allegedly drove into person he thought stole his bike, breaking their ankle in six places
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Racine man allegedly drove into person he thought stole his bike, breaking their ankle in six places

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RACINE — A Racine man allegedly hit the person he believed stole his bike with his van while the other man was on the bike, breaking the alleged bike thief's ankle in six places.

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Ronald Watts

Watts

Ronald J. Watts, 53, of the 1200 block of LaSalle Street, was charged with felony counts of first degree reckless injury and hit-and-run causing injury.

According to a criminal complaint:

On Thursday, an officer was in the 900 block of Hamilton Street when he was alerted about someone being hit by a car on Albert St. 

The officer saw the offending van and initiated a stop in the 1200 block of LaSalle Street.

The driver was identified as Watts, who claimed he saw a man riding a bike in the area of Mound Avenue and he believed it was his bike. He returned home and found his bike was missing. He got back in his van and went looking for the person, eventually confronting him and following him with his hazards on. The bike rider performed a U-turn in front of his van and Watters reportedly wasn't able to stop his van before striking the biker.

Watts wasn't able to provide proof of ownership of the bike and said he didn't pay money for it.

The officer spoke with a witness who said she heard the van's tires squeal and said the van was driving around 25-30 mph when it struck the victim. Watts put the bike in the car and tried to assist the victim to his feet. The victim eventually got up and was limping around. Watts then left the scene. She said she thought Watts intentionally hit the person on the bike and that the victim didn't perform a U-turn.

Officers learned that the victim's right ankle was broken in six places.

Watts was given a $1,000 signature bond and a $400 cash bond in Racine County Circuit Court on Friday. A preliminary hearing is set for May 20 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave., online court records show.

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Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson explained in an email that the reason the suspect isn't facing hate crime charges is because "There are enough facts, outside of those in the complaint, to indicate that the defendant did not intentionally select the victim because he was gay (and that) the two were fighting over household duties as they were roommates. Once the fight began, he defendant began using homophobic slurs."

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