MOUNT PLEASANT – A $500 cash bond was set for a Racine man who was accused of running over another man’s foot following an alleged altercation in a Burger King parking lot here last Thursday.
The Racine County District Attorney’s Office charged Daniel P. Erhardt, 58, of the 3600 block of Meachem Road, with Hit and Run – Injury, a Class U felony that is punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or nine months in prison.
According to the criminal complaint, Mount Pleasant Police were called to the Burger King restaurant, 5335 Washington Ave., last Thursday on a report of disorderly conduct. A caller reported that a man was striking a young boy and then fled the scene in a blue Jeep nearly striking a bystander. Witnesses provided the vehicle’s license number.
Police located the vehicle parked at an apartment building in the 1600 block of Meachem and spoke with the vehicle owner outside the building who initially stated that the Jeep had not gone anywhere, but later reported that Erhardt, the child’s father, had taken him to Burger King. Before officers could speak with Erhardt in the apartment, he left the building on foot.
Meanwhile, other officers spoke with two witnesses who reported hearing a child screaming outside the Burger King and saw a man “close fist punch” a 5-year-old boy, the complaint stated. The witnesses said they went over to the vehicle to confront the man because they “were concerned for the child’s safety” and one of them asked a Burger King employee to call the police.
One of the witnesses said that as he confronted Erhardt, he tried to leave in the vehicle, the driver’s side mirror struck the witness and the vehicle ran over the witness’ foot. The Jeep, driven by Ernhardt, then sped away eastbound on Washington Avenue “in a reckless manner,” according to the complaint.
After Ernhardt later returned to the apartment on Thursday, police were able to talk to him about the incident. He said that he had pulled into the Burger King so his son could use the restroom. While inside, his son wanted to eat so he bought him a burger. He stated that his son didn’t want to leave and “started to throw a fit and cry out loud.” Ernhardt said after he got his son into the car seat of the Jeep, two males “approached him and accused him of beating his kid.” He stated that the pair also accused him of being drunk and one man was at the driver’s side door and the other at the passenger’s side door. He told police that drove away because he was fearful. Ernhardt also denied punching his son.
Ernhardt was taken into custody on Thursday. An initial court appearance was conducted Friday afternoon. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 30 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave., Racine.