By Shereen Siewert
A 27-year-old Wausau man accused of killing a woman during a high speed crash was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison, after reaching a plea deal in the case.
Manuel Hoffman initially faced charges of attempted first degree intentional homicide, two counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety, false imprisonment, strangulation/suffocation, resisting an officer resulting in substantial bodily harm, taking and driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent and by use of force, battery, possession of methamphetamine, hit and run, and bail jumping in connection with the Dec. 14, 2019 crash. The charges were filed Feb. 5, 2020 in Marathon County Circuit Court.
During a March 1 plea hearing, Hoffman was convicted of amended charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, taking a vehicle without consent and with the use of force and first-offense operating while intoxicated.
Police say Hoffman forced the woman into a vehicle before crashing into a ditch at a high rate of speed near Edgar. After the crash, police said, the suspect hit the woman in the face and tried to strangle her.
Deputies were called to the scene at about 7:19 a.m. Dec. 14, 2019 for a report of a woman lying in the ditch next to a crashed vehicle. Dispatch advised deputies that a man on scene was trying to kill the woman and possibly had a firearm.
Before deputies arrived Hoffman allegedly got into the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Traverse SUV belonging to a passerby who stopped to see if he needed assistance and fled the scene, again traveling at speeds exceeding 100 mph, court documents state. He ultimately crashed that vehicle in a rollover near Hwy. F. Hoffman was injured in the second crash and was found by deputies, still in the driver’s seat.
When deputies tried to apprehend Hoffman he refused to cooperate, breaking a deputy’s bone in the struggle that ensued, according to court documents. Police were forced to use a taser to get Hoffman under control.
Police say Hoffman struck two other vehicles in the Ford Escape he was initially driving before crashing into the ditch. Methamphetamine was discovered in his vehicle along with drug paraphernalia, police said.
During a sentencing hearing Friday Circuit Judge Mike Moran also ordered Hoffman to spend five years on extended supervision. A June 30 restitution hearing has been scheduled.