First, the Fond du Lac Reporter:
A Fond du Lac man was charged [July 9] with a hate crime after authorities said he intentionally crashed his pickup truck into a motorcyclist on July 3 killing the driver.
Daniel Navarro, 27, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, using a dangerous weapon and first-degree recklessly endangering safety, all as hate crimes. Fond du Lac County Circuit Court Judge Robert Wirtz set bail at $1 million during an initial court appearance.
Fond du Lac County sheriff’s deputies responding to a report of the crash at Winnebago Drive and Taycheedah Way in the town of Taycheedah found the motorcyclist, 55-year-old Phillip A. Thiessen of Fond du Lac, dead in the roadway.
Thiessen was a former Marine and a retired special agent with Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation. He had previously been a police officer in Fairfax, Virginia.
“We do not believe that the suspect knew Phillip, had ever met with Phillip or had targeted him because of his background in law enforcement,” Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt said during a press conference Thursday.
According to the criminal complaint, police determined Navarro was driving east on Winnebago Drive when his pickup crossed the centerline and hit Thiessen.
A deputy at the scene asked Navarro if he heard him correctly about the crash being intentional and Navarro responded “yes, it was intentional, sir.” The deputy described Navarro’s demeanor as calm as he appeared to stare into the distance.
During interviews with detectives, Navarro said he believed he had been intentionally contaminated with a chemical sterilizer on his jacket by an employment supervisor in Ripon approximately a year and a half ago.
He went on to say, according to the complaint, that a friend poisoned him a year and a half ago, that he is still being poisoned by a neighbor and that he could hear one of his neighbors making racist comments through the walls of this residence.
Navarro told detectives that those who are poisoning him, giving him acid, and making racist comments are all Caucasian and targeting Navarro because he is Mexican.
He told investigators he took his red pickup, which is registered to his father, out for a drive in order to charge up the truck battery because he only leaves his parent’s house about once per week, the complaint states. He said he drove out in the county and saw the motorcycle, which he targeted because he believed it was a Harley Davidson driven by a white person.
However, Navarro was not aware of specifically who was driving the motorcycle because the headlight of the motorcycle was so bright.
Navarro’s parents said their son had been isolating himself and spent most of his time watching the news.
Now, Jake Curtis:
To many, the sound of a roaring Harley is iconic — an audible symbol of American freedom and ingenuity. To Wisconsinites especially, seeing a Harley on the road is a source of pride, as Milwaukee serves as the company’s global headquarters. Yet to Daniel Navarro, the sight and sound of a Harley represented white supremacy. As a result of that misplaced rage, over the July 4 weekend Navarro allegedly decided to take out his prejudice on Phillip Thiessen, swerving his pickup truck head-on into Thiessen. With the exception of a few local news outlets, the incident has received little attention. It simply does not fit with the national media narrative, so there will be no marches or protests commemorating Thiessen’s service-oriented life.