Anna Borntreger suffered a traumatic ….
Anna Borntreger suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the accident and succumbed to her injuries on November 26. The children, identified by their initials, had the following injuries:
• M.I.B., age 9, suffered bilateral femur fractures, a head injury, and two scalp lacerations.
• M.I.B., age 6, suffered head trauma, full thickness tongue laceration and atelectasis in the bilateral lungs (collapsed lung) and had to be intubated.
• R.I.B., age 5, had a non-depressed, comminuted fracture of the occipital bone and a small hemorrhage of the right cerebellar hemisphere (brain bleed).
• S. I. B., age 1, suffered a subdural hemorrhage /hematoma and partial collapse of the lung.
According to court records, on November 24 at approximately 2:44 p.m. Taylor County deputies Robert Donnelly and Logan Swiantek were dispatched to an accident located near N1754 CTH E in the town of Little Black.
The caller, Jesse Gruny, stated that a car had struck a buggy and that there were multiple injuries. Upon arrival at the scene Deputy Donnelly observed a silver Ford Taurus X in the eastern ditch with extensive damage to the front end of the vehicle and airbags which had been deployed. Donnelly observed several injured people laying on the grass near the buggy that had been struck. Donnelly also observed a male lying on his side in the ditch near the Taurus. Witnesses on scene indicated that the male in the ditch had been the driver of the vehicle and that he had not offered any assistance to tend to the injured. Donnelly made contact with the male and recognized him as Skyler Opelt based upon prior law enforcement contacts. Donnelly asked Opelt if he was injured and he replied that he was not. Opelt stated that he did not know what happened and denied having taken any drugs during the day. Opelt stated that he had been traveling northbound on CTH E. Due to the amount of injured victims, Donnelly instructed Opelt to remain where he was and Donnelly returned to provide aid to the injured.
Deputy Swiantek arrived upon the scene shortly after Deputy Donnelly. Swiantek observed Opelt standing in the driveway near the accident smoking a cigarette and looking at his cell phone. Swiantek asked Opelt if he had been the driver of the vehicle in the ditch and Opelt indicated that he was. Swiantek instructed Opelt to stay by his vehicle and he complied. Swiantek assisted EMS briefly then returned to Opelt. Swiantek asked Opelt what happened and he replied that he did not see them. Opelt stated that he was coming from Curtiss and denied being on any prescription or illegal drugs. However when speaking Swiantek noticed that Opelt had slurred speech and glassy eyes. Swiantek again assisted EMS by loading injured victims into an ambulance but would look over at Opelt and observed Opelt to be stumbling. Swiantek then observed Opelt lying on his left side in the ditch and Swiantek walked over by him and called his name with no response. Swiantek rolled Opelt over onto his back and observed that his face looked gray, his eyes were closed and he appeared to not be breathing. Swiantek observed a pack of Camel Blue cigarettes in Opelt’s right hand. Swiantek yelled for EMS to assist due to Opelt’s past drug history. EMS administered Narcan to Opelt and Opelt then began to open his eyes. Opelt was transported to Aspirus Medford Hospital for further treatment for an apparent drug overdose.
Deputy Swiantek signed an affidavit in support of a search warrant for Opelt’s blood. The search warrant was granted. Swiantek went to Aspirus Medford Hospital and received a sample of Opelt’s blood pursuant to the warrant.
Deputy Donnelly later spoke with Jesse Gruny about what he had observed. Gruny stated that he had been driving north on CTH E and came upon the accident after it had happened. He observed the vehicle and the buggy in the ditch.
He also observed the female victim, later identified as Anna Borntreger, in the ditch. Gruny parked his truck and called 911. Gruny stated that the driver of the vehicle was out of the vehicle and was talking on the phone. Gruny stated that he observed Opelt pacing back and forth on the driveway but Opelt did not assist with the injured. Gruny assisted with tending to the injured.
Deputy Swiantek later spoke with Haleigh Anding, who was the first passerby that stopped to render aid to the injured in the accident. Anding stated that she observed Opelt standing outside of his vehicle smoking a cigarette. She stated that she saw children and adults in the ditch just south of Opelt and that the horse was on top of one of the kids. She asked Opelt to help her and he told her “no” and just stood by his vehicle. Anding stated that she felt Opelt was acting odd and at one point she told officers she observed him spinning around in a circle.
In the course of the investigation, Deputy Swiantek spoke with Taylor County Jail Sergeant Jesse Turner who advised that there were recordings of telephone conversations that occurred before, during and after the crash, between inmate, Crissey Morrissey, and Opelt.
Swiantek listened to those recorded conversations which are summarized as follows: At approximately 2:33 p.m., Morrissey made phone contact with Opelt from jail block B. Morrissey asks Opelt what he was doing and where he was. Opelt replies “coming down D, not D, coming down E. Opelt told her about his job. Morrissey asks if Opelt has her phone and if he can put money in her account. Opelt indicates he did have her phone. Morrissey then told Opelt to grab her phone so she can explain what buttons to push to put cash on her card. Approximately three minutes into the phone call there is a noise and Opelt states that he got into a car accident that he totaled the vehicle and that he hit an Amish buggy. The conversation then ends.
At approximately 2:44 p.m. Morrissey makes phone contact with Opelt again and asks him what’s happening. Opelt told her that an ambulance is coming and the cops are coming. He also states there are some people hurt. Crying and screaming can be heard in the background. Opelt states that he will probably be in jail and that there are some people badly hurt. Morrissey asks how this happened and Opelt responds by saying because she kept calling him. Morrissey then states that if she had known he was driving she would not have had him access her phone.
At approximately 6:26 p.m. Morrissey makes phone contact with Opelt’ s sister who was at the hospital with Opelt. Opelt then gets on the phone and he tells Morrissey that he might have killed somebody. Morrissey then asks him if they did any blood tests on him and if he is sober to which he replies “no.”
Morrissey again states that if he would have told her he was driving she never would have told him to look at the phone app. Opelt states that he lied to her about riding in a vehicle with his friend because he did not want the jail to know that he was driving and talking on the phone.
Detective Aemis Balsis obtained a subpoena for Skyler Opelt’s medical records. Those medical records indicate the following: “During initial assessment patient denied alcohol and drug use and was unsure of vehicle speed. Later on patient admitted to snorting ‘something’ unsure what was in a paper bag. Patient states he went to the Curtiss Truck stop and got something from a friend and was on his way back to Medford. Patient states he didn’t use because he was going to another friend’s house in Medford for a “tool” to inject the drugs. During his drive his girlfriend, who he states is in jail, was calling him and he was on his phone. He remembers seeing a buggy, then another buggy, then hitting another buggy. Patient then states he snorted the drugs in the bag because he didn’t want to be caught with them.” The report also indicated that Opelt told medical staff his cruise control had been set to be about 60 mph.
Opelt is no stranger to the Taylor County courts. This is the fourth felony charge against Opelt in the past 12 months. Previous felony charges have been for possession of methamphetamine last January and in November he was charged with escape.