By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A 52-year-old man whose car was struck on 17th Avenue in Wausau was injured Tuesday after he stepped out of his vehicle to check for damage and was struck by a passing pickup.
Police say the driver of the pickup smashed into the victim’s vehicle and knocked the victim into a snowbank, hesitated briefly, then drove off without stopping. The victim’s hazard lights were on at the time of the crash, according to the criminal complaint. A second car involved in the first crash was also pulled to the side of the road with hazard lights flashing.
When police arrived at the scene of the crash, just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, they found the victim lying in the roadway — along with a license plate from the pickup that struck him.
The alleged driver of the pickup, 44-year-old Peter J. Atkinson, now faces a felony charge of hit and run involving injury. Atkinson appeared Wednesday in Marathon County Circuit Court and was released on a $1,000 signature bond.
Witnesses told police the driver of the pickup appeared intoxicated and was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of impact, but no OWI charges have been filed in connection with the crash.
The victim was transported to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment of his injuries. He has since been released.
Atkinson, who has a past criminal record that includes five OWI convictions and charges of obstruction/habitual criminality, is due in court March 18 for a preliminary hearing.