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September 2014

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Mother, 26, faces nearly a dozen charges after crash that injures children

An Oconomowoc woman's bail has been set at $1 million after she allegedly tried to run away after a Nov. 18 car accident that may have involved drugs and that hurt four children.

Julie Habeck 26, was charged Nov. 20 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with 11 felony charges and two misdemeanors. If convicted of causing injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, repeat OWI causing injury for a passenger younger than 16, multiple hit-and-runs causing injury or great bodily harm and knowingly operating with a revoked license causing injury. She was charged Nov. 21 with refusing to take a test for intoxication.

According to the criminal complaint, Habeck had been driving a van at about 6 p.m. Nov. 18 at Highway Q and River Lane, Lisbon, when her vehicle rear-ended a Chevy Blazer being driven by Andrew Sawyer. Sawyer's two children, ages 12 and 10, were taken to the hospital with possible neck, leg and back injuries. Sawyer, who reportedly injured his leg, declined medical attention.

Police officers saw two other children - later determined to be Habeck's - lying on the grassy area just south of the eastbound traffic lane, according to the complaint. The 6-year-old girl had a serious gash to her forehead, which ultimately required a skin graft and plastic surgery. The 5-year-old boy with a gash to his forehead that required sutures.

The complaint says that at that time, the driver, Habeck, was nowhere to be seen.

Witnesses to the accident told police that Habeck "was acting quite strangely" and stayed in the vehicle while strangers removed her children from the van, according to the complaint. She allegedly started fumbling for things in the rear of her van and began changing clothes - at some point coming out of the van without her pants on. The complaint add that "without asking about her children" she asked to use a nearby bathroom.

A local man escorted her into his residence, the complaint states, where she "stayed in the bathroom for quite some time" and left a handgun with her former clothes on his front windowsill. Police also allegedly found a speed loader for the revolver with .44 caliber rounds attached to it and a blue rubber tourniquet (commonly used for drug use) in the vehicle. Habeck was reported to have told police that the gun was not hers but "stated spontaneously that the gun hadn't been fired for some time."

When police questioned Habeck, they determined that she had been driving without a valid license and her two children had not been wearing seatbelts, according to the complaint. She reportedly told police that she takes prescription oxycodone, Flexeril and lorazepam. According to drugs.com, oxycodone is a painkiller, Flexeril is a muscle relaxant and lorazepam is used in the treatment of anxiety.

Police also asked her how she could have left the scene with her children injured and bleeding on the ground. She reportedly told the officers "there was like a million people there."

Habeck had a broken wrist at the time and would not complete field sobriety tests, though she did apparently state the alphabet correctly on her third try, the complaint said. It also noted that nurses told police that two syringes fell out of Habeck's bra during treatmentIf convicted of all the charges she could face more than $234,000 in fines and about 86 years in prison.

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