52° F

Woman at center of hit-and-run story speaks

Published On: Dec 09 2012 12:45:08 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 09 2012 09:48:01 AM CST

It turns out the Good Samaritan who made the 911 call in Grant County's hit- and-run incident Wednesday was fabricating her story.  

Her actions had her hailed as a hero just days ago.

Now Grant County authorities say 47-year-old Cheryl Walton sparked a cover-up following the pedestrian hit-and-run.

The incident happened early Wednesday morning along University Farm Road in Lancaster.

A vehicle struck 19-year-old Jacob Colson, who suffered fractures to his leg. Colson was airlifted to UW Hospital, where he underwent several hours of surgery. Colson is currently listed in fair condition.

Sheriff's officials said Colson was accidentally run over by a 20-year-old Potosi man as a group of friends were leaving a party.

In an exclusive conversation with WISC-TV, Walton said there was no excuse for what she lied about, but said she wanted to protect everyone -- not only the 19-year-old victim, who is a friend of her daughters, but also the ones who were responsible for causing the crash. 

Walton's 911 call was the catalyst for bringing emergency help to the rural Lancaster road.

"And I realized I had a big feather pillow that goes on top of a bed in the back of my van," said Walton, who said she attended to Colson's injuries immediately. "So I grabbed that out and put it over top of him."

Further into the 911 call, Walton made a decision that changed the course of the hit-and-run investigation.

"Is the car still there?" asked the dispatcher.

"No, (Jacob) is on the ground," Walton said to the dispatcher. "I was going in town to get coffee. I need an ambulance right away."

Days after the call, Walton now admits the story about getting coffee was a lie.

"The whole situation should have never happened to begin with," said Walton. "And it was a horrible accident, and nobody even meant to cover it up."

Colson is a friend of Walton's daughters. The group of friends was coming home from a party when authorities said Colson was exiting one vehicle to get into another. That's when one of the drivers accidentally ran Colson over, sheriff's officials said.

"They went and got Ms. Walton, at her residence, a short distance from where this happened," said Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman. "Brought her up to the scene. She says, 'You guys go back to the house and hide. I'll take care of it.' And she makes the 911 call."

Walton told WISC-TV she told her children and their friends to go back in the house but denies telling them to hide.

"I was more worried about Jacob and protecting everybody else that I loved at the same time," said Walton. "I don't know what I was thinking. I did not panic in the medical situation. I wanted to help Jacob. But I panicked (in my mind)."

Grant County authorities said the delay from Walton's cover-up could have easily turned fatal.

"We're talking in excess of 10 minutes this young man was laying on the road. It's 4:30 in the morning in 30-degree weather with a very severe injury. So that's the tragedy of this," Dreckman said.

"I just hope everybody can forgive us for it," said Walton. "We did not intentionally try to hurt anybody."

Authorities said the driver in this case, 20-year-old Daniel Udelhoven of Potosi, is expected to face hit-and-run charges. Walton is also expected to face charges related to the cover-up, sheriff's officials said.

It's still uncertain if alcohol played a factor, and Grant County authorities said that since so many days passed before the truth emerged, they may never fully know.

  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

  • Passport


    Mistakes people make when moving abroad

    Moving abroad? has put together a list of six mistakes people make when they're moving abroad. Click through, so you don't make the same mistakes during your move.

  • Hannah McClung

    PHOTOS: Med Flight called to crash on Highway 12

    The westbound lanes of Highway 12 were closed for nearly an hour Tuesday afternoon between Parmenter Street and County Road K near Middleton because of a crash.