MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee boy is facing new charges, including homicide, in connection with a fatal hit-and-run that took the life of a 41-year-old man and left a woman critically injured near 17th and Highland in August 2018. Prosecutors said this all began when Brian Vaughn, 16, removed his GPS monitoring device.
In the hours after that device was removed, prosecutors said Vaughn was involved in the theft of a Dodge Ram pickup truck. The fatal crash involving that truck happened the day after the device was removed. Just prior to the crash, prosecutors said Vaughn was involved in an incident in which a purse was stolen and shots were fired near Marquette University. Vaughn was arrested in September after a pursuit involving a separate stolen vehicle -- a Honda Accord.
On Tuesday, April 9, seven felonies were filed:
- Second degree reckless homicide
- Second degree reckless injury
- Hit-and-run involving death
- Hit-and-run involving great bodily harm
- Drive or operate vehicle without consent -- two counts
- Second degree recklessly endangering safety
Fatal crash at 17th and Highland on Aug. 16
The fatal hit-and-run crash happened on Aug. 16, 2018 and involved two vehicles. Two people in a white Chevy Blazer were taken to the hospital after their vehicle was struck by a silver Dodge Ram. Witnesses indicated the occupants of the Ram fled the scene on foot.
The Dodge Ram was found with significant damage after leaving the roadway and coming to rest on the front walkway leading to the Highland Community School. A bullet hole was found near the top of the tailgate. The Chevy Blazer also suffered significant damage.
A woman who was a passenger in the Chevy Blazer suffered facial fractures, a spine fracture that required a neck brace, bruising on her lungs, a broken sternum, a scalp laceration and abrasions to her face and knee.
An autopsy revealed Garrett Baublit died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries to his head, neck and torso.
The complaint said 13 latent prints were lifted from the Dodge Ram, and one was found to have belonged to Vaughn. Additionally, investigators found a sneaker in the driver's foot well near the gas pedal, and a search of Vaughn's Facebook account showed him wearing similar shoes in the days just prior to this incident. Investigators recovered a metal jacket from a bullet in the bed of the truck, and an unfired .380 caliber cartridge under the gas pedal. It was learned the Dodge Ram had been stolen between Aug. 15 and Aug. 16 -- and the thief obtained the owner's credit cards and her firearm.
Investigators downloaded data from the Ram's airbag control module and determined the Ram was traveling at 78 miles per hour with the accelerator at 100% in the seconds prior to the crash. About two seconds before the crash, the Ram was traveling at 84 miles per hour in the 30 miles per hour zone. Less than one second before the crash, the brakes were activated.
Fight, theft of purse and shots fired near 16th and Wisconsin on Aug. 16
While investigators were on scene at 17th and Highland, it was learned that a truck matching the description of the Dodge Ram had been involved in a theft and possible shots fired incident near 16th and Wisconsin minutes before the crash. The complaint said two sisters were fighting when the Dodge Ram stopped and a person exited the vehicle -- picking up a purse and phone the sisters had placed on the ground while they fought. The Ram then took off. Further investigation revealed shots may have been fired between occupant(s) of two vehicles after the purse was stolen.
17th and Highland crash on Aug. 16 caught on camera
The complaint said the hit-and-run crash at 17th and Highland was caught on camera at Highland Community School. The video showed just before 4 a.m., the Dodge Ram was traveling at a high rate of speed, eastbound on Highland -- entering the intersection in violation of the traffic signal, which was red. The Chevy was struck on the driver's side. The complaint said the Chevy had the green light and the right-of-way. After the Ram came to a rest, the video showed three people exited the driver's side and fled.
One of those people approached an officer on scene, crying. She said she was in the Ram and "Brian" was the driver. According to the complaint, she said Brian sent her a Facebook message, indicating he would pick her up, and did so in a gray pickup truck. She said there were two other people in the truck, not including Brian, who was driving. She said they were driving around downtown and soon came upon a fight between two females. She said Brian instructed the males in the back seat of the truck to take the purse and iPhone. She said she started screaming for them not to take the purse, but one person did get out and took it - running back to the truck -- at which point the truck took off at a high rate of speed. She said she yelled at Brian to slow down and that she wanted to get out of the vehicle. She said she soon heard two gunshots. She said one of the people in the back seat of the truck produced a handgun and shot back. She said as she was yelling at Brian to slow down, she saw a vehicle about to drive out onto the same street they were on -- and then, the collision happened.
Another passenger in the Ram said "they found the Ram truck because it had an unlocked door." He said they found the key in the center console and he gave it to Vaughn. He said he, Vaughn, and another friend left to pick up a female and they then drove to the Marquette University area -- where they saw the fight between the two females. This person said he was the one who took the purse before getting back into the Ram, which sped away. He said he heard several gunshots, and he and the other occupants of the Ram kept telling Vaughn to slow down. He estimated the Ram was traveling at 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash. This passenger admitted to fleeing the scene after the crash.
Brian Vaughn allegedly removed his GPS monitor on Aug. 15
According to the complaint, investigators took a look at Vaughn's Facebook account, which showed on Aug. 14, two days before the crash, Vaughn wrote: "We hopping fat first day off bracelet we (expletive) these streets up the rest of 2018 and da whole 2019." A check with the Milwaukee County Juvenile Justice System revealed Vaughn had been placed on GPS monitoring, but he removed his monitor without permission on Aug. 15 -- hours before the Dodge Ram was stolen.
The complaint said the day after the crash, on Aug. 17, a call came in from an inmate at the Lincoln Hills youth prison, who stated, "Let me talk to Brian." Someone who had known Vaughn for years identified Vaughn as having been involved in this conversation. The inmate asked Vaughn whose truck was involved in the crash, and Vaughn said, "Aww, oh, aww come on man you already know." The complaint said Vaughn indicated the other vehicle had the red light, and said, "It was my turn to go. I was going. I was on the green light -- so they smacked us. It's they fault though." The inmate said, "I know, but still, they're still try to, you know, pin that (expletive) against you cuz that was a stollie." Vaughn responded, "I know, but on the G, I'm not worried about that (expletive). On the G, my momma told me she'd get a lawyer. I'm not even tripping." Vaughn mentioned he was still on juvenile probation and was on the run.
Brian Vaughn's arrest after pursuit of stolen vehicle on Sept. 6
The complaint said a warrant was issued for Vaughn's arrest after two charges were filed (knowingly operating while revoked, causing death and knowingly operating while revoked, causing great bodily harm) days after the crash -- on Aug. 24.
The complaint said a Honda Accord had been stolen with they keys on Sept. 6 near Appleton and Locust.
The next day, on Sept. 7, officers began searching for that vehicle, which had fled officers earlier that day and reportedly contained Vaughn. It was found headed westbound on W. Mineral Street, and eventually went to a gas station near 19th and National. Squads began arriving to attempt a traffic stop, but the Honda fled, with police in pursuit, the complaint said. The pursuit lasted for two miles, and the complaint said the Honda was being driven the wrong way, into oncoming traffic and through heavy traffic. The vehicle was involved in a head-on crash on S. Layton Avenue.
As the pursuit continued, officers learned there were four people in the Honda, including Vaughn, who was driving. The pursuit was canceled due to safety.
Another pursuit was initiated in the area near 19th and National -- with the suspect vehicle headed southbound on S. 19th Street toward W. Washington Street. This pursuit lasted 1.3 miles. The complaint said multiple stop signs and red traffic signals were disregarded. The Honda crashed near Forest Home and Rogers Street. The occupants of the Honda fled on foot, and one was pursued on foot and later apprehended. This person told investigators Vaughn was driving the Honda.
Undercover officers responded to the area of the chase in an attempt to assist in the arrest of the suspects. Near 18th and Scott, the chase passed directly in front of them and a detective recognized the driver of the suspect vehicle as Vaughn. After the crash, the officers learned Vaughn had fled toward S. Congo Avenue. He was located near 19th and Congo -- where he ran into a home. A K-9 unit responded, and the complaint said Vaughn, in the attic, said he was coming down, and he did not want the dog to bite him. He was arrested.
A search of the attic revealed a Honda key fob.
A charge of attempting to flee or elude an officer was filed against Vaughn on Sept. 10.
The complaint said Vaughn "has never been issued a driver's license," and his license status was in "revoked status." In February 2017, his license was revoked due to his use of a vehicle in the commission of a felony. His license was never reinstated. His license was again revoked in November 2017 for using a vehicle in the commission of a felony.