MILWAUKEE, Wis. – State prosecutors in Wisconsin have filed formal charges against a fugitive from Minot after they say he caused a crash in Milwaukee while fleeing from U.S. Marshals that led to the deaths of two people.
According to the criminal complaint, prosecutors have charged 27-year-old Donald Lee Cooper, Jr., with six counts, including two counts of second degree reckless homicide.
Investigators say that U.S. Marshals with the Fugitive Task Force were tracking Cooper April 3 in Milwaukee. A deputy marshal attempted a traffic stop, and Cooper fled, leading them on a pursuit for several miles that reached speeds as high as 90 miles per hour.
The complaint indicates that Cooper disregarded a red light, and collided with a vehicle driven by 23-year-old Joseph Badora.
Badora’s passenger, 20-year-old Maria Buhler, was pronounced dead at the scene, he died the next day.
According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office, both Badora and Buhler were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
Investigators say after the crash, Cooper exited the vehicle and tried to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended.
According to the complaint, Cooper’s vehicle smelled of burnt marijuana, and investigators found a clear plastic baggie on the driver’s foot well.
Cooper faces two counts each of the following charges: second degree reckless homicide, vehicle operator flee/elude officer resulting in the death of another, and knowingly operate motor vehicle while suspended – cause death.
According to Milwaukee County Circuit Court records, Cooper made an initial appearance on the charges Monday, and remains in custody in the Milwaukee County jail on a $250,000 bond.
He faces up to 25 years in prison on each count of reckless homicide in Wisconsin if convicted.
Cooper is wanted out of Minot for a series of charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, in the January death of 29-year-old Dominick Stephens.
Two other men, 22-year-old Marcus Lee and 25-year-old Michael Dennis II are in custody in Ward County connection with Stephens’ death, and Lee has already changed his plea.
Another woman, 30-year-old Sheridan Simms, is in custody in Ward County on C-felony charges of hindering law enforcement and child neglect, on accusations she may have helped Cooper flee the area.
The conspiracy to commit murder charge in North Dakota carries with it a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted.