Bound over for homicide
Driver accused in auto death of woman after bar brawl faces over 50 years in prison
by Greg Marsten
Leader staff writer
BALSAM LAKE — The Comstock man accused of being behind the wheel of the car that ran over and killed a 35-year-old rural Luck woman, Michelle S. Lowe, in a tavern parking lot in eastern Polk County on July 27 was bound over for trial at a preliminary hearing in Polk County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
Benjamin Biron, 26, was the owner and driver of the car that ran over and killed Lowe, and is now facing a felony charge of hit-and-run - causing death, as well as a charge of felony homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, on top of two misdemeanor charges of being party to a crime for battery and disorderly conduct. All told, Biron is facing a potential for more than 50 years in prison and over $100,000 in fines, if convicted on all counts.
Another man implicated with Biron at the time of the incident, Ryan Mazurek, 26, Chippewa Falls, is also facing a felony charge of substantial battery with intent to cause bodily harm, as well as similar misdemeanor battery and disorderly charges. All told, he faces up to approximately five years in prison and over $20,000 in fines, if convicted. Mazurek has an initial appearance on Aug. 26 in the matter and remains free on a $15,000 signature bond.
Biron appeared before Judge Molly GaleWyrick at the Aug. 6 preliminary hearing, where she had to decide if enough evidence existed to bind him over for trial.
The hearing lasted just over a half hour and ended with GaleWyrick deciding the prosecutor’s case had merit to move forward, with the next hearing set for Aug. 26, when they will review the status of the case and begin to plan for trial.
Biron pleaded not guilty to all charges, and GaleWyrick agreed to modify his bond conditions down from $150,000 to allow for a $15,000 cash bail, with multiple conditions of house arrest and no contact orders.
The incidents and events that led to Lowe's death has many confusing details, much of which in dispute, but the criminal complaint lays out many of the critical facts.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Polk County Court, the incident began on the evening of July 26 and came to a head in the early-morning hours of July 27, after the duo of Biron and Mazurek visited several taverns in eastern Polk County, eventually ending up at the Staples Lake Bar at 1977 Polk/Barron St., near the two county lines.he trapped women, she was apparently run over by the passenger side tire(s). In a statement to police, both Biron and Mazurek stated they did not think they ran anyone over as they sped away.
Services for Michelle Lowe were held on July 30.
Both suspects will next appear in court on Aug. 26 and remain free on bond. - See full story in this week's Inter-County Leader, print version, on newstands now.