MILWAUKEE -- Prosecutors said a Milwaukee man told investigators he drove the wrong way on I-43 on purpose before killing two people in a head-on crash near Chase Avenue late Wednesday, June 25. Court records showed Jerry Anderson's license was suspended at the time.
Anderson faces the following charges:
- First-degree reckless homicide (two counts)
- First-degree reckless injury
- Knowingly operate motor vehicle while suspended - cause death (two counts)
According to the criminal complaint, deputies arrived on the scene of the crash around 11:15 p.m. They found two vehicles -- and five victims. In a gold Toyota prosecutors said Anderson was driving, a woman who was extricated from the front passenger seat was pronounced deceased. Another woman in the back passenger seat was taken to the hospital for treatment of her injuries. Anderson suffered some injuries.
A second vehicle, a blue Chevy Cobalt, included a female passenger, who was pronounced dead at the scene -- and a male driver, who was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Rhode Molina was the passenger of the vehicle hit head-on by the Toyota prosecutors said Anderson was driving.
"I never thought this, in a million years, I would lose Rhode," said Carolyn Hall, Molina's mother. "The main comfort is, is that I know where she's at. She's with God."
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has a traffic camera near the scene of the scene. The complaint indicates that the camera provided "a view of the top and rear of the Toyota and of the headlights of the oncoming Cobalt. It shows the Toyota traveling in the wrong direction, going southbound on the northbound side of the freeway, colliding with the Cobalt head-on." Prosecutors said that video showed another vehicle traveling the wrong way behind the Toyota.
When questioned by investigators, Anderson "admitted driving the Toyota during the crash. He said that he knew he was going the wrong way on the freeway and that he did so on purpose." His explanation is as follows:
"...shortly before the crash incident, in the area of 11th and Rogers Streets, a car that he is not familiar with, occupied by an unknown person or persons, began following his car for unknown reasons. He sped up and made turns to lose the car, but it kept following him. At one point the car made contact with the rear of his car and spun his car around. These actions of the other car caused him to believe that the occupant or occupants of the other car were trying to kill him."
Anderson goes on to say, "in an effort to lose the car that was following him, he decided to purposely get onto the freeway in the wrong direction, thinking that the car following him would not dare do the same. He said he has little memory of what happened after he got on the freeway."
"He's going to be judged regardless of what he does," said Hall. "I'm going to dedicate the rest of my life to pray for you -- that God will have mercy on your soul."
On Saturday, June 27, family held a prayer service for Shontia Hernandez, severely injured in this crash.
CLICK HERE to access a GoFundMe.com account in honor of Rhode Molina.