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Wisconsin man originally ID’d as passenger charged with being driver in fatal crash

A Cambridge, Wis., man who was originally believed to have been a passenger in a crash in May that killed his friend was charged Friday with having been the driver, after DNA tests found his blood on the driver’s side of the car.

Bradley G. Pellmann Jr., 26, was charged with hit and run causing death, for allegedly running from the scene of a one-car crash on May 10 that killed Nathan L. Trickel, 31, of Madison, in the town of Albion.

The charge carries up to 25 years of combined prison and extended supervision.

Trickel was initially described by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office as the driver of an Infiniti sedan that crashed after being driven at high speed. He was thrown from the car and died at the scene.

Pellmann, who was originally described by the sheriff’s office as a passenger, fled on foot into a field and was arrested two days later at a home in Marshall.

But according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court, Detective William Hendrickson examined Pellmann at the Dane County Jail on May 15 and found a burn or abrasion from a seat belt on Pellmann’s left shoulder and neck, indicating that he was sitting in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.

DNA testing by the state Crime Lab also found that blood stains on the front air bag, the driver’s side door air bag and the exterior driver’s door handle all belonged to Pellmann, the complaint states.

Pellmann has been in jail on an alleged probation violation since his arrest. He appeared in court Friday, where bail was set at $30,000.

In a statement, Trickel’s family said that after serving three tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, Trickel completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice “and was eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to give to his community in the same way. The degree of loss and the depth of anguish felt from the loss of such an incredible and beloved young man are immeasurable.”

A State Patrol trooper who analyzed the crash determined that the car was going between 87 and 102 mph at the time of the crash.