Driver charged with felony hit and run
Police say a driver who fled the scene of an accident evaded officers for nearly a month.
Timothy J. Ort, 27, New London, is charged with hit and run causing injury, conspiracy to aid a felon by falsifying information as party to a crime, and operating without a license.
Shortly before 3:30 p.m. Aug. 10, New London Police Officer Ryan Denu was dispatched to the intersection of State Highway 54 and Shawano Street in response to an accident.
According to the criminal complaint, Sawyer Baitinger was in the westbound lane of State 54 waiting to make a left turn onto Shawano Street when a black Cadillac CTS slammed into his vehicle from behind.
Although Baitinger hit his brakes, the Cadillac pushed his car forward nearly 20 feet into the intersection. Baitinger’s vehicle was significantly damaged and he went to the hospital for a neck injury.
Baitinger and other witnesses told Denu that the Cadillac turned north on Shawano Street. Another motorist followed the Cadillac until losing sight of it after it turned west on County Trunk T.
Denu collected light-assembly and bumper parts from the vehicle that left the scene. They were identified as belonging to a Cadillac.
Two witnesses provided police with a license plate number for the Cadillac. When police ran a records check, the plate number came back as a 2013 Dodge Charger belonging to Ort’s aunt.
Denu spoke with Ort’s aunt about the car. He reported that she said she owned the Dodge, but her niece and nephew drove it.
Ort’s aunt, who owns Ort Sawmill on County T, reportedly said she did not know where Ort lived, that sometimes he stayed at the sawmill and he may be staying with a friend in Bear Creek.
She also said she did not believe her niece or nephew owned a Cadillac, police say.
Ort’s sister told police that she had the vehicle and had not been in New London the day of the crash, the complaint says. She said she and her brother do not have a Cadillac.
Denu also visited the home of an Ort Sawmill employee, who said Ort had told him he was living on County Trunk D, north of New London.
The employee also told Denu that Ort swaps registration plates on cars because he does not have a driver’s license. He said Ort had started driving a Cadillac about a week earlier.
For nearly a month New London police attempted to make contact with Ort about the accident. On three separate occasions Ort failed to appear for scheduled meetings with officers, police say. They were also unable to find an address for him or find him at the sawmill where he works.
“It is my belief that Tim is avoiding law enforcement and has hidden the Cadillac,” Denu reported. “It is clear to me that Tim was displaying plates from his aunt’s Charger on the Cadillac at the time of the accident.”
On Sept. 5, a sawmill employee called New London police and spoke with Sgt. Earl Ruckdashel. He said Ort was at the sawmill on County T. As Ruckdashel headed to the sawmill, dispatch informed him that Ort had been seen in a red and black truck pulling a trailer on County T. Dispatch later reported that the truck had been seen northbound on U.S. Highway 45 near Crain Road.
“After I got just north of Bear Creek on Highway D I was going to turn around and go back to the city when I saw a red and black truck with a trailer pull out in front of me off a side street and go southbound on D back towards New London,” Ruckdashel reported.
Ruckdashel made a traffic stop and the truck pulled into a parking lot near County D and State Highway 76.
The driver, identified as Ort, was handcuffed and placed in the back of Ruckdashel’s squad car.
Ruckdashel reported that Ort began asking him to secure the truck, call his wife to retrieve it and get his cigarettes.
According to the criminal complaint, when Ruckdashel went to the cab to get the cigarettes and cellphone, the center console popped open and he saw what appeared to be a bag of marijuana. He contacted the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office to collect evidence.
According to the criminal complaint, Ort was involved in another hit and run involving a mailbox in the Clintonville area.
Court records indicate he was cited for failure to notify police of an accident for an Aug. 23 incident. He has been cited for operating without a license four times in 2016.
Following his Sept. 5 arrest, Ort was released from custody after posting a $1,500 cash bond.