By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — The driver who struck and nearly killed a 22-year-old Wausau woman in July was convicted Friday on charges of hit and run causing great bodily harm.
Josie Romero, 27, of Wausau will be sentenced Nov. 30. She appeared Friday in Marathon County Circuit Court, where she pleaded no contest to the hit and run charge. Romero was also convicted Friday of possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine in an unrelated case that was pending at the time of the crash.
Molly Viehweg, 22, of Wausau, was out running when she was struck by Romero’s vehicle at about 12:30 p.m. July 19 on First Avenue and Knox Street on Wausau’s west side.
Police say Viehweg suffered life-threatening injuries and underwent brain surgery shortly after the crash. Romero fled the scene but was arrested a day later in Antigo.
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 the criminal complaint. Video captured after the crash shows Romero returned to the crash scene and watched as Viehweg was loaded into an ambulance, but did not turn herself in.
Friends and family members continue to rally behind Viehweg with an established GoFundMe page to help Viehweg cope with mounting medical costs for her care. In addition to the ongoing campaign, a day-long fundraiser hosted Aug. 25 by Rib Mountain Taphouse and Mountain Edge Restaurant raised $33,000.
Romero remains jailed on a $150,000 cash bond. A civil lawsuit is also pending in connection with the case. She faces up to 15 years in the Wisconsin Prison System.