UPDATE: Alleged Driver in Fatal Elderon Crash Pleads Not Guilty

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email

UPDATED: Tues 9:29 PM, Jul 09, 2013

An Antigo man charged with the April 7 crash that left his girlfriend dead pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Marathon County Court.

Brandon Bender was initially charged with causing injury while operating with a controlled substance, however as result of surveillance video from a bar near the accident site, those charges were amended.

Initially, Bender told investigators his girlfriend, Catherine "Caty" Borchardt was driving. He said he dozed off, but awoke to the truck on the shoulder and Borchardt was not in the driver's seat. He said he turned the truck around and found her lying in the intersection of State Road 49 and State Road 153.

According to the criminal complaint, Bender later changed his story and said he was driving. He told investigators he made a sharp turn and believes Borchardt fell out of the truck.

Bender will return to court in September.
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UPDATE: 5/10 at 11:59 a.m.

An Antigo man accused of being the driver when his girlfriend fell out his truck and was fatally injured is now out of jail.

Online court records show Brandon Bender, 27, posted bond this week.

His charges and bond were modified May 2.

He'll return to court May 30 to learn if his case will head to trial.

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UPDATE: 5/2 at 2:15 p.m.

The Antigo man charged in connection to accident that left his girlfriend dead last month, returned to Marathon County Court Thursday morning.

Brandon Bender was initially charged with causing injury while operating with a controlled substance, however as result of new surveillance video from a bar near the accident site, those charges were amended.

Bender is now charged with 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety and operating with restricted controlled substance. Those charges are more serious then his initial charge.

Bender's bond was also amended. Judge Huber said if Bender came up with $10,000 cash, he'll be released from custody if a co-signer signs a $15,000 signature bond.

Online records so Bender is still in custody at this time.

He is expected to return to court May 7.

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UPDATE: 4/22 at 10:49 a.m.

The investigation continues into what happened the night a 27-year-old woman died after she fell out of a vehicle. The sheriff's department say her boyfriend Brandon Bender was driving at the time.

Monday, Bender appeared in Marathon County Court for his preliminary hearing.

Currently, he's charged with causing injury by driving under the influence. According to the criminal complaint, Bender admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana prior to the incident.

But the state is seeking amended charges following new evidence obtained from surveillance video of a nearby business.

Deputy District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon says the video shows Catherine Borchardt exiting the vehicle, which was not moving at the time. According to the criminal complaint, Bender thought Borchardt fell out of the vehicle when he made a sharp turn.

Monday's preliminary hearing was adjourned. Bender's attorney also made a motion to reduce his client's $25,000 cash bond. However, that motion was denied.

Catherine "Caty" Borchardt of Wittenberg died April 7th from her injuries.

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UPDATE: 4/11 at 3:08 p.m.

The Marathon County Sheriff's Department says a 27-year-old woman who died after her boyfriend says she fell out the truck as he was driving, did died of severe head trauma. The accident happened early Sunday morning near Elderon. Catherine "Caty" Borchardt died Tuesday morning.

The cause of death is in line with the story Brandon Bender told authorities. However, since Bender admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana prior to the incident, a charge of causing injury while operating with a controlled substance is expected to changed to a more serious charge to reflect Borchardt's death.

Brandon Bender appeared in Marathon County Court Thursday morning. A judge ruled he makes enough money and will not qualify for a public defender.

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UPDATE: 4/9 1:20 p.m.

The Marathon Co. Sheriff's Department says the female passenger, identified as Catherine "Caty" Borchardt, 27, has died from her injuries.

According to a news release, an autopsy will be performed Tuesday.

Prosecutors says they're awaiting results from her autopsy to determine if more charges will be filed against Brandon Bender.

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ORIGINAL STORY: 4/9 at 12:17 p.m.

An Antigo man is behind bars on a $25,000 cash bond after investigators says he's responsible for injuries his girlfriend sustained while riding with him.

According to the criminal complaint, Brandon Bender, 27, was driving to a home in Elderon during the early morning hours of April 7. Bender told officers from the Marathon County Sheriff's Department his girlfriend, age 27, fell out the truck and was seriously injured.

Initially, Bender told investigators his girlfriend was driving. He said he dozed off, but awoke to the truck on the shoulder and the woman was not in the driver's seat. He said he turned the truck around and found the woman lying in the intersection of State Road 49 and State Road 153.

During an interview with a deputy, Bender was again asked the details of the crash and the deputy said the woman's injuries, which are life-threatening, were consistent with being passenger.

Bender changed his story and later said he heard the woman's perfume bottle fall from the truck and hit the pavement, that's when he noticed she was no longer in the truck. He says the woman may have fallen out the truck as he accelerated away from the intersection and it's possible she may have not closed the door all the way.

Bender told police two men helped him put the woman back into the truck after discovering her in the intersection. When Bender arrived at the woman's Elderon home he realized how serious injuries were and called 911.

Bender admitted to drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana prior to the crash however, a preliminary breath alcohol test showed he blew .006, at 3:29 a.m. Bender said he thought the crash occurred around 2 a.m.

Bender is charged with causing injury while operating with a controlled substance. According to online court records, it's his second offense.


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