The man believed to have hit and killed Lakethia Richardson over the weekend in a drunk driving accident was assigned Wednesday a $250,000 cash bond during his initial appearance in Racine County Circuit Court.
Tarance Bryant, 33, of Racine, was formally charged with felony hit and run resulting in death and homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. If convicted, he faces up to 50 years in prison and/or up to $200,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, Racine police were called at 3:21 a.m. Dec. 13 to the 1300 block of S. Memorial Drive. When officers arrived, they found a Ford Explorer upside down with the female operator still inside. The woman – later identified as Richardson – was breathing up unresponsive and bleeding heavily from head wounds.
Police say a witness told them the Mercury Grand Marquis on the grass a short distance away was driven by a man who fled the scene. The witness said they were heading south on Memorial when the Mercury passed them going fast. Richardson’s Explorer was also going south and was attempting to make a left turn onto 13th Street when the Mercury tried to go around her and collided with the SUV, causing it to turn over.
A description of the man was broadcast to police, and he was located a short time later “stumbling quickly” south on Washington Avenue, the complaint reads. When the man – later identified as Bryant – saw the squad car, he tried to duck into an alcove and open the door, but was detained by police instead.
By this time, Richardson had succumbed to her injuries, the complaint continues.
Bryant had a bloody mouth and scrapes on his hands and arms and smelled of intoxicants, police say. He was asked if he was okay, and he told officers he was fine but that someone had hit him. When police asked if he’d been in an accident, he denied it despite having shards of glass in his hair. Bryant was also observed with burs in his clothing, consistent with the wooded area between the accident site and where he was found.
The defendant become belligerent, yelling “I plead the fifth!” every time officers tried to ask him questions. After he was placed into custody, he was transported back to the accident scene and then to Wheaton Franciscan St. Mary’s for treatment of his injuries and an evidentiary blood draw, the complaint reads.
During his time in the ER, officers say Bryant got progressively worse, yelling and fighting until he was put in hospital restraints so medical personnel could complete their examination. At one point, he was shouting, “I shot at cops and you’re probably the one I shot at!”
Bryant was eventually transported to the Racine County Jail, and police say they had contact with the defendant an hour before the accident when a call came in for an unwanted party at 13th and Washington. Officers say they observed Bryant get into a grey Mercury and leave that area.
The next time Bryant will be in court will be Dec. 30 for his preliminary hearing.