Man accused of failing to buckle in disabled child before drunken-driving crash near Richmond

Wisconsin man faces upgraded charges alleging criminal abuse, neglect

Bryan M. Johnston

A Wisconsin man accused of drunken driving during a crash in February near Richmond that injured a child passenger now faces new charges alleging criminal abuse and neglect of a person with a disability.

The new charges against Bryan M. Johnston, 35, of the 1400 block of Oak Street in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, were handed down by a grand jury March 23.

The indictment alleges that Johnston did not buckle the child, who has a disability, in with a seat belt.

The new Class 3 felonies carry a prison sentence of five to 10 years in prison but also are probational.

Johnston also is charged with aggravated driving under the influence causing great bodily harm and aggravated driving under the influence with a child in the car, Class 4 felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of two counts of driving under the influence and endangering the life or health of a child, according to the indictment.

Johnston was the caregiver of the child, who has a disability and was not properly restrained with a seat belt when Johnston “endangered [the child’s] health to be injured, or preexisting physical or condition to deteriorate” by drunken driving and getting involved in an “accident that resulted in bodily harm to the child,” according to the indictment.

About 10:30 p.m. Feb. 12, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the 7800 block of Tryon Grove Road near Richmond for a single-vehicle crash, department spokeswoman Emily Matusek said in an email at the time.

A preliminary investigation showed that the vehicle left the road and hit a ditch embankment.

Both Johnston and the child were taken to Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. The child later was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago because of their age and injuries.

Johnston, who bonded out of the McHenry County jail Feb. 15 after posting 10% of a $20,000 bond, is due in court to be arraigned May 10, according to court records.

Attempts to reach his attorney Friday were not successful.