NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodFond du Lac


Suspect charged in FDL county hit-and-run faces up to 15 years in prison

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 18, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-18 18:57:40-05
  • A 19-year-old from West Bend is charged with hit-and-run—great bodily harm.
  • Two consecutive crashes on New Year's Eve involving an underage drinking party left one teen dead and several others injured.
  • Video shows more details from the criminal complaint.

Jatziel Encarnacion, a 19-year-old from West Bend, has been formally charged with hit and run — great bodily harm in connection with a New Year’s Eve crash in Fond du Lac County. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

The criminal complaint states that Encarnacion and more than a dozen others were at a party on December 30th in Kewaskum, where many of them were drinking underage. The criminal complaint states five people left the party in the same car, which then crashed along highway 45 shortly after.

Two people were ejected: 19-year-old Taya Grimes from Hartford, and a 17-year-old from Iron Ridge.

The criminal complaint states witnesses told detectives they saw Grimes facedown on the road when Encarnacion drove by, hitting her; and they say he also hit the 17-year-old with his bumper, seriously injuring him.

The criminal complaint also states Encarnacion kept driving away, and witnesses say they saw Grimes's hoodie pinned underneath the carHer body was found three miles away.

Encarnacion is not being charged with her death because prosecutors say there's not enough evidence concerning whether Grimes died from the initial crash or from being struck by Encarnacion’s car.

“If you can't prove when those injuries may have happened, or if the evidence suggests that may have occurred before something, that becomes difficult to try to tell a jury that they should find somebody guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on those circumstances,” Fond du Lac District Attorney Eric Toney said.

These charges came two and a half weeks after the incident, District Attorney Toney said is because of the complicated nature of the case.

“When we look at issuing charges, the goal isn't to do it as quick as possible, but the goal is to be responsible in doing that,” Toney said.

The criminal complaint also states Encarnacion admitted to drinking at the party, but denied buying or providing alcohol.

It also states Encarnacion told them he was the last to leave the party, and he drove straight home without stopping.

Encarnacion was previously given a $250,000 bond; and on Thursday, a defense attorney requested that be lowered to $10,000.

“It was an accident that was already ongoing at the time of the defendants arrival,” the attorney said.

The judge disagreed, and kept the bail at $250,000.

District attorney Toney says other investigations may be ongoing.