Oak Creek Man Charged in Drugged-Driving Crash
A 33-year-old suspect rammed into a motorcycle in Cudahy after another man is tried to call the cops to report his reckless driving, according to a criminal complaint.
A 33-year-old Oak Creek man is facing felony charges after he allegedly slammed his SUV into a motorcycle near the intersection of Pennsylvania and College avenues while driving under the influence of drugs.
Joseph Robert Liberto was charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Friday with injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and second-offense operating while intoxicated-causing injury. If convicted, he faces up to 18 ½ years in prison and $35,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint:
At 3:45 p.m. Sept. 12, a man southbound on Interstate 794 noticed Liberto driving a Ford Explorer near him and swerving out of his lane, nearly striking a curb. He started following Liberto, who got off at Pennsylvania Avenue and turned right without stopping for a red light.
The man continued to follow Liberto in an attempt to get his license plate number and call police, but Liberto began passing other vehicles. As the man dialed 911, Liberto slammed his SUV into the back of a motorcycle stopped at a red light in the 6100 block of S. Pennsylvania Ave. The collision caused the motorcycle to hit a work van in front of it; the van then hit another car.
The man got out of his car and told Liberto to wait for police.
The motorcycle driver was alert but couldn’t move one of his legs. He was taken to the hospital via Flight For Life after he suffered four leg fractures, two broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He has since undergone four surgeries, with two more planned to treat the injuries.
Liberto appeared lethargic to officers and had a blank stare on his face. He said he was passing cars and never saw the brake lights in front of him before hitting the motorcycle.
Officers suspected he was under the influence of a narcotic. They searched his SUV and found a syringe hidden in a cigarette pack and Morphine sulfate pills.
Liberto was taken to Aurora St. Luke's South Shore, where he continued to show signs of being under the influence of drugs and investigators found needle marks on his arm. While Liberto was being checked out of the facility, officers found three packs of Suboxone films in his pocket.
Liberto was previously convicted of OWI in 2000. He’s currently out of custody on $500 bond while awaiting trial.