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Law enforcement officials release more details on deadly Fond du Lac County crash

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff says those involved were leaving underage drinking party where drugs were present
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 20:08:34-05
  • Investigators say the people involved in the crash were leaving an underage drinking party where drugs were present.
  • The Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Department says they've interviewed dozens of people.
  • Video shows Friday's updates on the investigation.

Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt is describing the New Year’s Eve deadly crashes in the Township of Auburnas “one of the most complex crash investigations that I've seen in my 25+ years working at the sheriff’s office”

Waldschmidt said the people involved in two consecutive crashes were coming from an underage drinking party where drugs were also present.

Taya Grimes, a 19-year-old from Hartford, was killed.

Investigators said Grimes was one of two people ejected from one car, then she was hit by another car and dragged for 3 miles into Washington County, where she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Waldschmidt said the second person ejected from the car may also have been hit.

While the sheriff’s department said they believe alcohol was involved, they don’t yet know whether the people driving both cars were drinking.

They’re also investigating when in the sequence of events the Grimes was killed.

“It is very difficult to determine if somebody may have been alive when they were struck by a vehicle or not,” Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney said.

Waldschmidt said they’ve interviewed dozens of people, but many are not cooperating.

“The lack of cooperation began before we were even at the scene, when people and vehicles chose to leave that scene rather than remain there and help those who were injured,” Waldschmidt said.

Law enforcement arrested 19-year-old Jatziel Encarnacion from West Bend for hit-and-run causing death. He is being held on a probable cause affidavit until the investigation is complete.

The sheriff’s department is asking anyone with any information on the incident to come forward to investigators by calling the dispatch center at 920-929-3390 or leaving an anonymous tip by calling 920-906-4777.

“We know there are more individuals out there who could provide information,” Waldschmidt said.