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Hit-and-run suspect allegedly 'fesses up' after Facebook post

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Jon B. McConaughey2 / 2

A Somerset man made his first court appearance last week on allegations he struck and seriously injured a pedestrian in St. Croix County before driving away from the scene.

Prosecutors charged Jon B. McConaughey with one count felony hit and run following a Jan. 8 crash in the town of Star Prairie that court records state left Charles Henkel with multiple injuries.

Witnesses' statements and evidence collected at the scene led to a description of the vehicle that the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office posted to Facebook the same night as the incident.

According to a criminal complaint, McConaughey contacted the sheriff's office the next day, telling deputies he'd opened Facebook to learn officers were looking for a vehicle matching his — a silver Saab Aero sedan — and that he was the driver.

St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack released McConaughey on a signature bond at his initial appearance Jan. 25.

According to the complaint:

Deputies were called at 6:28 p.m. Jan. 8 to 1877 County Road C for a pedestrian who'd been struck by a car that kept driving.

Officers learned Henkel was out getting his mail and talking to a neighbor who was also at her mailbox when a southbound car came at them. The car, Henkel said, nearly struck Natalie before "he saw headlights heading right for him," the complaint states. Authorities said he sustained a broken leg, foot, arm and pelvis in the crash.

The car, described by the neighbor as a sedan, continued on. Deputies inspecting the crash site found fresh silver-colored debris with a Saab logo.

After a search of the area for a vehicle matching that description was unsuccessful, deputies posted the information to Facebook.

McConaughey contacted the sheriff's office the following morning and a sergeant was sent to talk with him. The deputy arrived at McConaughey's apartment to find a silver four-door Saab with fresh damage parked outside.

McConaughey told the deputy he was responsible for the collision, but thought he'd hit a deer. He said he didn't stop to check on the crash or report it. He told the officer he'd recently bought the car from a friend and hadn't yet registered or insured it.

McConaughey denied being under the influence at the time of the crash. When informed of the serious injuries Henkel sustained, "Jon did not indicate or show any remorse," the deputy wrote in his report, which later notes that McConaughey admitted "his stomach dropped" after seeing the Facebook post.

He was also informed his car would be impounded.

"Jon asked no questions about the person he hit and his most pressing question was when he could get his car out of impound," the complaint states.

McConaughey's preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 14.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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