Arraignment scheduled in fatal Oconto County crash

NEW Media Staff

An Oconto Falls man is scheduled to be arraigned in Oconto County Circuit Court on Sept. 26 on a charge of homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.

Thomas Edward Wolf, 56, Oconto Falls, is charged in connection with a crash Aug. 3 that claimed the life of Bart Erdman, 60, also of Oconto Falls. He also is charged with a third offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, a misdemeanor.

Judge Michael T. Judge held a preliminary hearing Sept. 14 and found probable cause Wolf had committed a felony, binding him over for trial. Wolf is expected to plead not guilty during the Sept. 26 appearance, and a pre-trial conference would be scheduled.

The criminal complaint indicates Wolf was driving a pickup truck and Erdman was on a motorcycle, both of them traveling south on County Road I near Beaver Lake Road in the Town of Oconto Falls, when the truck rear-ended the motorcycle.

The impact threw the Harley-Davidson into the east ditch and caused the pickup to spin counterclockwise and turn over at least once, also coming to rest in the ditch, the complaint said. Erdman was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.

Sgt. Ben Schindel of the Oconto County Sheriff’s Department interviewed Wolf later that night in the hospital. Wolf allegedly said he was traveling south on County Road I at about 50 mph “when he all of a sudden saw a bright light come out of nowhere.” He tried to stop but didn’t remember anything specific until his pickup overturned and came to rest in the ditch, the complaint said.

A preliminary breath test at the hospital showed a blood alcohol content of .124%, or more than 1½ times the legal limit, according to the complaint.

Wolf remains free after posting a $50,000 cash bond.