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$150K cash bond set for Wausau hit-and-run suspect

in Sirens

WAUSAU — A 27-year-old Wausau woman accused of striking a pedestrian and fleeing the crash is being held in the Marathon County Jail on a $150,000 cash bond, even as the victim in the case continues to fight for her life.

Josie Romero appeared Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court, four days after she allegedly struck a 22-year-old jogger on Wausau’s west side. Police say the victim suffered life-threatening injuries. Family members have said publicly that the woman remains in intensive care and had a portion of her skull removed due to bleeding in the brain.

Family members of the victim, a 2014 Wausau East High School graduate, have asked for privacy. Wausau Pilot and Review is not releasing the name of the victim in the alleged hit-and-run out of respect for the family’s wishes, though her name is publicly available in court documents.

The crash happened at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the area of First Avenue and Knox Street. Romero told relatives she was looking for her cell phone when she struck the woman, according to witness statements.

The crash prompted a city-wide search for the vehicle suspected of striking the victim and an anonymous tip led police to discover a 2014 black Ford Focus in a garage just blocks from where the crash happened.

Romero, who is the mother of three children, told relatives she was in “big trouble” and would be “going away for a long time,” according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court. On the day of the crash, Romero had entered into a plea agreement in an unrelated case for marijuana and cocaine possession and was due to be sentenced Aug. 8 on those charges.

It is not clear why Romero did not stop to render aid to the woman or why she fled. A group of the victim’s friends attended Monday’s initial appearance, telling Wausau Pilot and Review they wanted to show support and solidarity for the injured woman while sending a strong a message to the judge.

Romero faces criminal charges of hit-and-run causing great bodily injury and bail jumping. A judge on Monday ordered her to have no contact with the victim. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 1.

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