MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- Charges have now been filed against 35-year-old Marcus Lee in connection with a crash that killed a three-year-old girl, and left a four-year-old boy hurt.
Lee is facing one count of knowingly operating a motor vehicle while suspended, causing death.
He made his initial appearance in court on Tuesday, March 1st, and it was determined he will undergo a competency examination. Lee was wearing a protective vest, and wiped several tears from his eyes during his court appearance.
"Based on my interactions with him and my discussions, I`m going to raise competency at this point," Lee's attorney said.
The crash happened on Thursday, February 25th near Sherman and Teutonia in Brown Deer around 9:30 p.m.
Three-year-old R'moni Little-Smith died at the hospital as a result of injuries suffered in the crash.
Upon arrival at the scene, Brown Deer police officers found Lee's vehicle tipped onto the driver's side. Three-year-old R'moni Little-Smith, Lee and a four-year-old boy were found in a grassy area near the vehicle. Little-Smith was lying on her back, unresponsive. The four-year-old boy was being tended to by a woman.
Little-Smith was later pronounced dead at the hospital, as a result of blunt force head trauma. According to the complaint, the four-year-old boy suffered a concussion and abrasions on his head.
Police made contact with Lee, who told officers he was driving the vehicle prior to the crash, and the two children were in the backseat -- not wearing seat belts, according to the complaint.
Lee told police the vehicle struck the curb and flipped over. He said he saw the two children thrown from the vehicle.
The complaint indicates Lee made "various statements" about using a cell phone while driving.
The chaplain for the Brown Deer Police Department happened to witness the crash. According to the complaint, he stated that Lee's vehicle was traveling at approximately 80 miles-per-hour and "driving erratically" prior to the crash.
Another witness estimated Lee's vehicle was traveling at 80-90 miles-per-hour prior to the crash.
Police were able to obtain surveillance video from an automotive shop nearby -- which showed Lee's vehicle traveling on Sherman Boulevard at a high rate of speed. The video showed Lee's vehicle lose control as it passed through the intersection at Bradley Road. The vehicle then struck the curb on the west side of Sherman.
The complaint indicates while Lee was being transported to the hospital, officials noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from Lee's breath. According to the complaint, Lee told officials he had smoked marijuana two to three hours prior to the crash.
Lee told investigators his driver's license was suspended, the complaint says.
A blood sample was taken from Lee and sent to the Wisconsin Crime Laboratory for analysis, and he was arrested.
According to the complaint, when Lee was taken into custody, officials found a receipt on his person, indicating the vehicle Lee was driving had been purchased on the date of the crash -- February 25th, by Lee's girlfriend and the mother of the three-year-old and four-year-old children who were in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The receipt had a message on it, reading: "Warning! This vehicle cannot be legally operated on Wisconsin highways and may not be safe."
One day after the crash, Lee was interviewed by investigators. According to the complaint, Lee said he had consumed "half a bottle of liquor" and "two beers" on February 25th, and he had also smoked marijuana at various points during the day.
Lee indicated his girlfriend had purchased the vehicle on Thursday morning. Lee said he suspected a tie rod needed to be fixed because his girlfriend had mentioned that at high speeds, the steering wheel started to shake.
The complaint says Lee told officials he picked up the two children from daycare around 8:30 p.m., and said the children were not wearing seat belts, nor where they secured in child safety seats.
Lee said he was on the way to pick up his girlfriend, the children's mother, when the crash happened.
Lee estimated he was driving at approximately 45 miles-per-hour.
Lee said the car started to slide, and struck a curb on Sherman. Lee said after the car rolled, he crawled out through the sunroof.
According to the complaint, Lee said he "knew (Little-Smith) was dead" after the crash, and he said he "should have been more of an adult and put their seat belts on."
The complaint makes reference to the fact that Lee's vehicle operating privileges were suspended on February 5th, 2014 for failing to pay a fine.
This is the fourth fatal crash to occur in February in Brown Deer.
On February 5th, a crash involving three vehicles and a wrong-way driver happened near Green Bay Road and Deerwood Drive. The wrong-way driver died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash on February 11th. He was identified as 59-year-old Charles Washington of Milwaukee.
20-year-old Kierra Monei Jackson and 22-year-old Fredericka Owens-Wright were killed when Monei Jackson seemingly lost control and left the roadway near Dean and Teutonia on February 11th. The vehicle rolled at least once, and the medical examiner's report indicates it struck an electrical box and phone box before coming to a stop in a tree line just south of the intersection of Dean and Teutonia. A third woman was taken to the hospital for treatment following this crash. She was listed in critical condition.
25-year-old Lauren Unertl of Hustisford was killed in a crash near 60th and Brown Deer Road on February 13th. Her passenger was hurt. 25-year-old Brandyn Corbins has been charged in the case -- facing homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, among other charges. Corbins is accused of drinking at a bar and taking Viodin pills he did not have a prescription for prior to the crash.
Brown Deer police are taking part in "high visibility traffic enforcements" as a result of these crashes.