“They know they committed a crime:” Search underway for driver after Country Thunder hit-and-run

Country Thunder

GENOA CITY -- A woman is progessing in her recovery from severe head injuries after she and her daughter were struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run at the Country Thunder Music Festival. The striking driver remains at large.

As Country Thunder wrapped up Sunday night, July 23rd, officials with both the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department and Genoa City Police said there were fewer arrests than in recent years. But there remains one arrest officials hope to make soon.

Monday was clean-up day at Country Thunder. The music had ended but Genoa City police said the hit-and-run has taken center stage at their department.

"We've had people calling in. We've been working tips since the accident happened. We've been following up on every possible lead," Genoa City police chief, Jospeh Balog, said.

Joseph Balog, Genoa City police chief

Balog said around 1:00 a.m. Saturday, July 22nd, a 60-year-old woman from the Mauston area was walking from the grounds with her 23-year-old daughter when a driver slammed into the mother from behind.

"She sustained a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain and a fractured right wrist," Balog said.

The severe injuries have stood out to police, who said this was a relatively quiet Country Thunder weekend.

"This year, the crowd seemed to be very well-behaved, at least in our jurisdiction, compared to past years," Balog said.

Country Thunder

The grounds play host to about 33,000 people each day, and much of it is under the jurisdiction of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department. Captain Robert Hallisy shared citation numbers from this year's four-day event:

  • 192 cases of underage drinking
  • 26 trespassing tickets
  • Five disorderly conduct citations
  • Four resisting or obstructing an officer citations

Hallisy said those are fewer encounters than usual. Authorities believe heavy rain dampened some of the revelry.

Genoa City police, though, still have work to do. Balog called for witnesses to come forward, but his main appeal is to the striking driver, and anyone else who may have been in that car.

"They know that they committed a crime. They left the scene of an accident. They left a mother and daughter injured in a ditch," Balog said.

Balog said he did speak with the injured mother by telephone Monday. He said she was in good spirits and could be released from the hospital Monday or Tuesday.

Balog said he plans to discuss with the village board Tuesday ways to keep Country Thunder's pedestrian traffic separated from the long streams of cars exiting at the end of the night.