The man accused of striking and killing a bicyclist in the town of Troy was recently released on a $5,000 cash bond.
Patrick J. Nachreiner, 61, of Plain, appeared in court June 27, where Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock set the bail. Nachreiner was charged with a felony count of hit-and-run involving death and faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and 10 years of extended supervision for the charge.
According to the criminal complaint, Nachreiner was arrested after his attorney, Michael Short, called a Sauk County Sheriff’s Office detective to report that Nachreiner thought he had struck a deer along County Highway B near Cassel Road, but saw the news reports of a hit-and-run and “wanted to get ahead of it.” The call came two days after the crash.
Investigators began their work after a deputy found the body of 59-year-old Michael W. Kierski, of rural Sauk City, in tall grass on the side of the highway between 10:30 and 11 p.m. June 20. The deputy searched the area after receiving a call from Kierski’s wife, who was concerned he hadn’t returned home after leaving for a bike ride roughly three hours earlier.
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Cellphone location data showed Kierski was last on Hwy B. The deputy drove by twice before pulling over and walking through the grass, discovering Kierski’s body. The seat of the bicycle was on the roadway and there were tire marks starting about 80 yards east of the westbound bicyclist. The deputy noted in the report that Kierski’s body and bike were found 10 yards from the asphalt.
Kierski was a half mile from his home on Troy Road, where he had begun his ride by heading north to County Highway O before likely taking Skunk Valley Road to Hwy B.
According to the complaint, a UW Hospital forensic pathologist found Kierski’s fatal injuries as consistent with being struck from behind by a vehicle.
Detectives found video of Nachreiner’s business van entering Plain from the east along Hwy B just after 8:30 p.m. Paint and vehicle debris left at the scene of the crash were identified as belonging to a white GMC utility van from the year 2003 or newer.
After receiving the call from Short, police went to Nachreiner’s residence with a search warrant and examined the 2020 Nachreiner Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning van. There was paint transfer on the windshield likely from Kierski’s bike helmet, which was damaged at the back. A hair was found in the front bumper and what is likely skin was discovered where the hood meets the windshield, according to the complaint.
Sauk County Chief Deputy Eric Van Den Heuvel noted in the report the damage was “consistent with the vehicle striking a person” and the body being held on the front bumper until it fell away rather than going up and over the van due to its flat front windshield. Photos taken of the van provided by police show the hood has noticeable damage.
Nachreiner was questioned at his home and said he wanted “to tell his side of what happened” but did not comment on advice from his attorney, according to the complaint.
Kierski’s wife told police she was absolutely certain Kierski had a functioning brake light on the back of the bike. He was wearing a green shirt and dark shorts while riding that day and would have been struck while the sun was still shining.
According to the complaint, photos taken by police the next day show that a driver paying adequate attention to the road would not have had any problems seeing a bicyclist during that time of day.
Nachreiner is scheduled to return to court Sept. 8 for a preliminary hearing.
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Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget or contact her at 608-745-3513.
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