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Deadly Fond du Lac County crash treated as a hate crime

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jul 09, 2020

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) -- A fatal crash is being charged as a hate crime.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daniel Navarro was arrested on July 3rd after a fatal crash in the town of Taycheedah. He was charged Thursday.

According to the charging document, deputies say he admitted to intentionally swerving his truck into a motorcycle driven by 55-year-old Philip Thiessen. Thiessen died at the scene.

When interviewed by authorities, the criminal complaint said Navarro made statements implying he specifically wanted to target a white person. In an interview with detectives, the criminal complaint says Navarro made statements about Donald Trump and the current political climate.

"Navarro stated that if Trump and white people are going to create a world like we are living in then he has no choice and people are going to have to die," the criminal complaint says.

The criminal complaint stated Navarro also told detectives that people were poisoning him. Navarro believes he was being targeted because he's Mexican. The criminal complaint also recorded statements from Navarro's parents, who said Navarro watched a lot of news, went on the Internet to watch YouTube videos and didn't socialize with anyone.

In the criminal complaint, Navarro said he targeted a motorcyclist, instead of targeting someone in a car, because, "he wanted the person to die and not be paralyzed." The criminal complaint also said Navarro believed the Harley culture is made up of white racists. Investigators didn't find evidence that the victim was involved in any racist activity, according to the criminal complaint. Instead, the criminal complaint said Philip Thiessen was a former Marine, police officer, DCI Special Agent and a frequent volunteer at a local food pantry.

The criminal complaint also notes a previous domestic violence incident in 2019 involving Navarro, in which officers tried to put a 72 hour mental health hold on Navarro, but the request was denied.

Navarro has been charged with first degree intentional homicide and first degree recklessly endangering safety. According to court records, both charges have hate crime modifiers attached to them, as well as modifiers for use of a dangerous weapon. A preliminary hearing for Navarro is set for July 17.