Hundreds of West Allis Central High School students being ripped out of class due to three bomb scares in three days, and vehicles plowing into two Greenfield homes in three weeks topped the local police blotters this year.
Three times in three days, Central students evacuated
Bomb scares caused West Allis Central High School. to be evacuated Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7-9, angering students and nearly causing an after-school basketball game to be canceled. While school resumed after authorities found no explosives in the school on March 7 and 8, classes and activities were canceled after the March 9 scare. No explosives were found after an exhaustive search that day, either.
The first bomb scare suspect was arrested the early evening of Thursday, March 10, by detectives and officers of the West Allis Police Department, with the assistance of the Milwaukee Police. The FBI assisted in the investigation.
Two Milwaukee boys, ages 15 and 17, were arrested in connection with the March 9, bomb scare. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty in June and was sentenced to 60 days in the Milwaukee County House of Correction, doing 25 hours of community service and paying restitution of $2,532 to the school district to cover costs.
The 15-year-old and a 16-year-old also arrested in the bomb scare incidents were referred to juvenile authorities who released no information on them.
Twice in three weeks, vehicles plow into homes
Drivers had a particularly hard time staying on the road in Greenfield this fall, with two of them crashing into houses within three weeks of each other.
In the first incident, the car crashed through the home's bay window, through the living room and ended up in the driver's own dining room. It was a driving lesson gone wrong, with a 15-year-old who was just learning to drive at the wheel. Greenfield police said that when attempting to turn left, the novice driver accidentally stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake and drove the family SUV into her own house. Her mother was beside her. That happened Oct. 23 in the 3700 block of South 102nd Street.
In the other incident, the 27-year-old Franklin man at the wheel is charged with drunken driving, second offense. About 8:10 p.m. Nov. 10, the man was allegedly attempting to pass another vehicle while traveling south on South 92nd Street when he lost control of his Jeep Cherokee.
It veered off the road and struck a fire hydrant,rolled onto a lawn, crashed through a fence and slammed into the side of a home, causing the Jeep to roll over onto the passenger side.
The Franklin man was taken to the hospital with head injuries. His were the only injuries in either accident.
Man charged in homicide, drive-by fatal shooting
West Allis was shocked at the May 1 murder of a West Allis man in an apartment, followed by the fatal drive-by shooting of a mother on Interstate 94, believed to be by the same shooter later in the day.
Zachary Hays, 20, West Allis, was charged with both homicides. He plead not guilty Aug. 18 by reason of mental defect or disease to the killing of the West Allis man. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2017.
To the homicide charge and related charges in Sauk County where the drive-by shooting took place, Hays pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect on Aug. 29. Sauk County Circuit Court has not set a trial date.
Hays is charged with shooting and killing a man who lived in the same apartment building. The drive-by shooting was between the Wisconsin Dells and Madison in Sauk County.
Woman, 28, hit by car in parking lot, later dies
Vanessa Rodgers, a 28-year-old employee of Pick 'n Save, 4279 S. 76th St., Greenfield, was hit by a car in the store parking lot and pinned at 2 p.m. Feb. 26.
She died of her injuries March 8.The driver was an 80-year-old Milwaukee woman. She was leaving the store, completing a turn traveling toward the South 76th Street exit. The pedestrian was walking toward the store, according to Greenfield police.
Although it has been months since the accident, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office is not expected to press charges. There was video of the incident.
Pair charged in murder, torture, body burning
Two West Allis residents are charged in a macabre murder that involved torture and two attempts to burn the victim's body in South Dakota.
Tiffany Lynn Simmons, 35, of 11130 W. Morgan Ave., is charged with first degree intentional homicide in White’s death. Simmons’ boyfriend, Shanta Dwan Pearson, 44, of 1737 S. 81st St., is charged with murder..
The complaint alleges that the defendants and the victim were in an SUV truck when the two women started arguing. While Pearson drove, Simmons and the victim, Tess White of West Allis, fought.
Simmons confessed to torturing White by punching her and extinguishing cigarettes on her skin, the criminal complaint says. Because she did not want to go to prison for kidnapping and torture, Simmons then suffocated White, the complaint says. The defendants then burned the body in South Dakota after unsuccessfully trying to burn the body in Minnesota, the complaint says. The remains were found in a South Dakota field by two farmers.
Simmons faces a jury trial May 1, Pearson a jury trial on March 13.