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Suspect arrested in Racine County hit-and-run that injured We Energies flagger

The victim, Karlee Rybarczyk, suffered two broken legs, a broken arm, broken rib, and multiple cuts and bruises after being struck in a hit-and-run on Tuesday.
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Posted at 8:40 PM, Mar 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-23 16:36:25-04

A suspect was arrested Wednesday in connection to a Racine County hit-and-run that seriously injured a We Energies flagger on Tuesday.

Bob D. Slominski was charged with the following in Racine County Court:

  • Felony Hit and Run-Involve Great Bodily Harm
  • Felony Reckless Driving-Cause Great Bodily Harm
  • Misdemeanor Bail Jumping-Misdemeanor

A court commissioner set cash bond at $100,000 on Thursday.

Complaint says the suspect sneeezed, dropped his phone and then hit the victim

According to a criminal complaint released Thursday, responding deputies found the victim laying on the ground in the center of the roadway. A witness told investigators she was holding a “stop” sign toward traffic when she was hit.

A caller later reported to law enforcement he had seen a similar truck at a neighbor's house, owned by a Bob Slivinski.

At the home, the suspect told deputies he did own the white Chevrolet truck. At the jail, he said he sneezed and dropped his phone, and then when he looked up he saw the sign the victim was holding but that "it was too late to stop," according to the complaint.

He says he "panicked" and drove off.

"Slominski stated he does not like to see people in pain and cannot be around people who are in pain so that was the reason he left the scene. Slominski stated he went home and attempted to cover his truck with a tarp to conceal it from view," according to the complaint.

Law enforcement make arrest

The Racine County Sheriff's Office says they received multiple tips on the suspect driver. Deputies responded to a home provided by a tip and were met with a 41-year-old man. The man confessed to striking the We Energies flagger, identified as Karlee Rybarczyk.

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The man's Chevy Silverado was found covered by a tarp in the home's backyard. He told the Racine County Sheriff's Office he was on his way to an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse meeting at the time of the accident. He said he "panicked" and fled the scene.

The man was taken into custody and transported to the Racine County Jail. The following charges were submitted to the Racine County District Attorney's Office: felony hit-and-run causing injury and negligent operation causing great bodily harm.

Karlee Rybarczyk
Karlee Rybarczyk

The victim, Rybarczyk, became a flagger in February of this year. She was directing traffic when she was hit by the driver on Honey Lake Road near Spring Prairie Road in the Town of Burlington.

She suffered two broken legs, a broken arm, a broken rib, and multiple cuts and bruises, according to a GoFundMe.

WE Energies issued the following statement about the incident:

We are grateful to the Racine County Sheriff’s Office who worked relentlessly to find the suspect in this avoidable incident. We also are thankful for everyone who did the right thing and provided information to authorities to help in their investigation.

Our thoughts remain with Karlee and her family as she recovers from her injuries.

This incident is a reminder of the hazards that We Energies workers and contractors willingly confront each day in their dedication to serving our customers. We urge drivers to slow down near work zones — it is vital to keeping everyone safe.

Family identifies WE Energies flagger seriously injured by hit-and-run driver in Racine

Family identifies We Energies flagger seriously injured in Racine hit-and-run

Jackson Danbeck | March 22, 2023

Family identified the WE Energies flagger who was hit and injured in Racine County on Tuesday as Karlee Rybarczyk.

According to her Facebook page, Rybarczyk became a flagger in February of 2023.

According to a fundraiser confirmed by family members to TMJ4 News, Rybarczyk was directing traffic on March 21 when she was hit and seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver. The fundraiser states she suffered two broken legs, a broken arm, broken rib, and multiple cuts and bruises.

Karlee Rybarczyk
Karlee Rybarczyk

According to the fundraiser:

As a family, we are doing everything we can to support her during this difficult time. We appreciate all the love and support for friends, family, and the community.

That's why we're reaching out to you for help. We are asking for any amount you can donate to assist with Karlee's medical bills, rehabilitation, and living expenses during her recovery period. Your generosity will go a long way in helping her get back on her feet and return to a normal life.

As TMJ4 News reported Tuesday, the Racine County Sheriff's Office deputies need your help finding the driver and vehicle they say hit a We Energies flagger and then drove off Tuesday morning.

Racine hit and run driver

In an update on Wednesday, the office said:

UPDATE: Hit and Run of WE Energies Flagger

Based upon the damaged parts left at the scene, eye-witness statements, and video evidence, Sheriff’s Investigators and the Sheriff’s Major Crash Assist Team believe the striking vehicle to be a White, 2007 to 2014, Chevrolet, 2500HD or 3500HD, pick-up truck. The truck will have damage to the front driver’s side grill/driver’s side headlight assembly and damage to the front edge of the hood.

The Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone with information related to this Hit and Run to contact the Racine County Joint Dispatch Center’s non-emergency telephone number at (262) 886-2300 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 636-9330 – where a tipster can remain anonymous and become eligible for a cash reward.

Sheriff Schmaling stated, “Someone out there knows of a person who drives this type of truck with fresh damage to the grill and hood. You need to come forward, say something, and assist law enforcement so this seriously injured woman, who was simply doing her job, can receive the justice she deserves.”

The photographs are of the part of the grill left at the scene by the striking vehicle and a stock photograph of a vehicle similar to the striking vehicle.

According to a news release on Tuesday, the unknown driver hit and injured the "We Energies flagger" on southbound Honey Lake Road near Spring Prairie Road in the Town of Burlington.

After hitting the flagger, the driver headed northbound on South Honey Lake Road. The victim was brought to the hospital via medical helicopter with "significant injuries."

Karlee Rybarczyk
Karlee Rybarczyk

According to the sheriff's office, the vehicle is described as a white, Chevrolet, 4-dr., diesel, with black rims, and tinted windows. The vehicle is possibly a late 2000s model. The vehicle appeared to be leaking fluid as it drove away. Broken parts from the vehicle were found on scene consistent with black molding, according to the news release.

If you have any information, please contact the Racine County Sheriff’s Office at (262)886-2300 and reference Complaint #23-15343.

We Energies issued the following statement:

We encourage anyone with information about the driver or this incident to contact the Racine County Sheriff’s Office right away. The injured flagger is a contractor working on behalf of We Energies. Our thoughts are with her and her family. This avoidable incident is a stark reminder to slow down around construction crews.

If you have any information, please contact the Racine County Sheriff’s Office at (262) 886-2300 immediately and reference Complaint #23-15343.

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