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A 36-year-old Racine man faces two criminal charges after strangling his girlfriend late Thursday night after she accused him of driving drunk.

Lequan T. Byles was charged Friday in Racine County Circuit Court with a felony count of strangulation and a misdemeanor counts of battery.

The felony carries a fine of $10,000 and six years in prison. Also charged with a misdemeanor, Byles faces a fine of $10,000 and nine months in county jail for that charge as well.

According to the criminal complaint:

A Racine police officer was dispatched to the Georgetown Village Market, 3710 Meachem Road, where he met with a woman, who stated she had been assaulted inside a vehicle at the intersection of Meachem Road and Taylor Avenue.

The vehicle was left, parked and unoccupied, in the eastbound lane of Taylor Avenue. A woman on scene told police that her boyfriend picked her up from work, but he seemed intoxicated. So she demanded that she drive home. Byles became angry when she accused him of being drunk. As they approached Meachem Road, he demanded that she pull over. When the vehicle came to a stop, he allegedly grabbed her by the neck with both hands and began strangling her.

The woman stated she passed out, and when she regained consciousness, Byles demanded she give him the car keys and her bank card. The woman threw the keys out the window and into the street, and then exited the vehicle. She then retrieved the keys and fled to the market where she called police. Police located Byles walking eastbound on 21st Street from Ohio Street, where he was taken into custody.

Byles made his initial court appearance Friday afternoon. He is due back in court Wednesday for an 8:30 a.m. preliminary hearing.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.