Sentencing Delayed in Hit-and-Run Incident After Defendant Forgets to Show

Michael Frey, convicted of hit-and-run and possession of narcotics and of a controlled substance, was taken into custody on Wednesday after his sentencing was delayed because he "forgot" to check in with court officials.

A Saukville man found guilty of a hit-and-run crash over the 2012 Fish Day weekend is back in custody after forgetting to check in with law enforcement regarding a presentencing investigation.

Michael Frey, 21, appeared in court on Wednesday for a sentencing hearing that ultimately was delayed because the pre-sentencing investigation had not "been completed due to defendant not making contact with Department of Corrections," according to court records. The investigations are conducted so that the courts can have the "fullest understanding possible of the defendant's life and circumstances at sentencing," according to the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office website.

Frey's attorney, Michael Penkwitz, spoke on his behalf during the court appearance, saying the defendant had gone to dinner after the last court proceeding and "forgot" to return to check in with the DOC.

Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Sandy Williams, citing a form that Frey was given at his last court appearance with instructions to contact the DOC, called for the defendant to be taken back into custody so that he would be available for the courts. Penkwitz can petition for Frey's release once the investigation is done, Williams said.

The next sentencing hearing has been set for 3 p.m. Feb. 20.

Frey was found guilty in December on charges of hit-and-run, as well as charges for possession of narcotics and possession of a controlled substance for items found in his car after it was impounded. He faces four years, three months and 30 days in prison as well as $20,500 in fines. 

According to police reports:

Frey, 20 at the time of the accident, said he did not see the victim, Chris Morano — who turned out to be a friend — until the impact occurred on July 22, according to police reports. Port Washington officers down the street witnessed the accident at 1:33 a.m. in the 100 block of Franklin Street, and "saw a male subject fly up into the air, flip and land on the ground."

Frey told officers he fled the scene because he panicked and didn't know what to do. He asked officers the name of the victim, and upon learning it was Morano "became immediately upset," according to police reprots. Frey said Morano was friend who had likely recognized him while driving and came out to say "hi."

After leaving the downtown area, Frey headed toward Upper Lake Park. Officers note that he passed a clearly marked police vehicle on Lake Street while fleeing the scene.

After posting his $500 bond in connection with the hit-and-run charges, Michael Frey stopped at the Port Washington Police Department, as well as the district attorney's office, to request access to his car to retrieve a few items, including an iPod.

Frey's car had been impounded after the accident that sent Morano, 22, to the hospital with a head injury and bruises in his left elbow, according to police reports.

In the meantime, Port Washington officers had learned from an unidentified person that Frey had a secret compartment below the shifter of his car, in which he kept drugs.

Officers told Frey they would retrieve the iPod, and also conduct a search for other valuables. In doing so, they found 33 Oxycodone Hydrochloride pills in an unlabeled bottle below the shifting compartment; they also found a bag of Suboxone films.

Suboxone is a substance used to treat dependence to opioids, according to Suboxone.com. Oxycodone Hydrochloride is an opioid, according to FDA.gov.

In talking with police, Frey said he was not a drug dealer and that he "had a problem ... (and) started to use the Suboxone to help his problem," the report said.


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