No charges for Superior police officer who unknowingly ran over man lying in road

Douglas County DA finds officer did not commit a hit-and-run in the incident

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Superior Police Department
The Superior Police Department in Superior, Wisconsin. Danielle Kaeding/WPR

A Superior police officer who ran over a man lying in the road in February will not face criminal charges, the Douglas County District Attorney announced.

Officer Joshua Sislo hit with his car a man who was lying in the street in downtown Superior around 9:30 p.m. Feb. 19. Sislo told investigators he felt a bump as he drove, but did not realize he’d hit someone. He said he checked his side mirror but didn’t see anything in the road behind him, so he kept driving, believing he’d run over a chunk of ice.

Shortly after that, a couple leaving a Superior bar swerved in their car to avoid what they thought was a “black bag in the roadway,” which turned out to be a badly injured man, according to the DA’s press release. The man, whose identity has not been released, was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He has since been released from the hospital.

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In the release, Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf noted that Sislo, who responded to the scene, was the first to tell investigators that he may have run over the man, because he had recently driven on the road. Blood tests showed Sislo had no alcohol in his system. He turned over his phone, which showed he had not been texting or using the phone while driving. And a review of his police car’s dashboard camera showed he was driving at a normal speed.

The state Department of Justice led the investigation, and reported its findings to Fruehauf’s office in April.

In the dark and snowy conditions, the man lying in the road was difficult to see on the dashcam video except in a slow-motion review, Fruehauf wrote in the release.

“At this time, it is unknown how this person came to be lying in the intersection prior to this incident,” Fruehauf wrote.

Criminal charges of hit-and-run require that a driver “knows or has reason to know” that they were involved in a crash that resulted in an injury or a death.

In an April statement, Superior Police Chief Nick Alexander called the incident “a tragic and unfortunate accident.”

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