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Motorcyclist charged in fatal OWI out on signature bond

Published On: Jun 18 2013 06:57:48 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 19 2013 11:04:09 AM CDT

A Montfort man left Iowa County Jail Tuesday wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet after he received a signature bond for allegedly leaving the scene of a fatal motorcycle crash Sunday.

Jesse Flogel is accused of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle after he allegedly crashed a motorcycle Sunday and left his passenger, Tondelaya Bennett, injured and alone on County Highway XX north of County Highway X in the township of Mifflin.

Like any small town, Montfort and its residents are coming together in the face of tragedy.

“It’s one of our own, whether you’re well-known in the community or not, you’re still part of the area, and we all care,” said Dan Mellum, owner of Gowdy’s Bar in Montfort. “It’s sad. It’s just sad.”

Mellum said Flogel was a regular at Gowdy’s Bar, where he ate little and said even less.

“He was never outspoken or anything, in fact, you had to engage conversation with him to get him to talk,” Mellum said of Flogel.

A passerby on County Highway XX found Bennett there unconscious and alone Sunday just before 8:30 p.m. More than 15 hours later, police tracked down Flogel less than 20 miles away in Platteville.

“It’s terrible that someone would be left along the road, being a crash victim, and very little if any aid is rendered,” Iowa County Sheriff Steve Michek said. “That’s just terrible.”

Bennett was transported by MedFlight from Upland Hills Hospital in Dodgeville and later died from her injuries at UW Hospital in Madison. Michek said investigators were reconstructing the accident Tuesday afternoon, and they believe others were involved.

“We would sure hope they’d come forward, considering the fact that this is a serious matter to Ms. Bennett’s family,” Michek said. “She’s deceased, and I’m sure they’d like answers to who was involved and why they wouldn’t render aid.”

Back in Montfort, Mellum and other residents are still trying to understand what happened, but he says no matter what, they’ll be there for one another.

“When tragedy happens, we all kind of stick together a bit,” Mellum said. “Even though Jesse wasn’t a pillar of the community, he’s still well-liked by people.”

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