A pleasant Prairie man was in court for the first time today after recently being released by a Milwaukee Hospital and rehab facility. Ajay G. Pierangeli, 21, of Pleasant Prairie, was 20 years old when his drunken action killed two of his friends and severely injured two others, according to court documents.
Criminal charges were filed last week in the deaths of two Kenosha County residents from a crash on July 28, 2023. At approximately 3:05 am, a 2008 Red Dodge Dakota occupied by five people crashed into Play It Again Sports located at 4017 75th St in Kenosha. The driver was identified as 20-year-old Ajay Pierangeli (formerly Fierke). According to the report, obtained by KCE from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the criminal complaint, police allege Pierangeli was intoxicated and that speed also caused him to lose control of the truck. Pierangeli’s blood alcohol level was more than three and a half times the legal limit at .282 BAC. Two occupants of a private ambulance witnessed the crash and estimated the speed to be about 70 mph in a 30mph zone. They also saw the vehicle swerving and occupants of the vehicle “blowing kisses” out of the window before the crash. They noted the truck went airborne.
This is Pierangeli’s second OWI. His first conviction was from an August 9, 2019 arrest in which he was convicted of drunk-driving at age 16, and did not consent to a breath test. He was involved in a very serious wreck and flipped his vehicle. He has other liquor-related violations as well. He was convicted of underage possession of alcohol in November of 2021 and Inattentive driving in 2019.
Quincy Adams, 22 of Pleasant Prairie sustained a left rib fracture, collapsed lung, and a small pulmonary contusion. Quincy said he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and he believed no one in the car was. He called his mother after the crash, but not 9-1-1. He was visibly upset and didn’t know the truck crashed into a building. He said the five occupants were all drinking at a “hangout,” but wouldn’t tell police where. Today, Adams asked the court to allow his friend to “come home,” seemingly asking for a no-cash bail.
A 21-year-old Pleasant Prairie man named Alex Wajerski was also seriously injured in the crash. Like Adams, he asked the court for mercy, allowing his friend to have a low bail. He was also wearing a neck brace and had difficulty speaking, seemingly due to his injuries.
A 22-year-old Kenosha man named Dylan Zamora and a 21-year-old Kenosha woman named Jenna Barrette passed away as a result of the crash. An official time of death for the pair is listed as 5:01 am, but paramedics noted they were deceased immediately after the crash.
The Kenosha County DA’s office has charged Ajay Pierangeli with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, a class D felony, Injury by Intoxicated Use of Vehicle and OWI Causing Injury (2nd). If convicted of all counts, Pierangeli faces a maximum sentence of just over 68 years in the Wisconsin State Prison System – More than 40 years of initial confinement followed by 28 years of extended supervision.
Pierangeli sustained ruptured lung and a possible brain injury. His attorney asked the court commissioner to set a no-cash bail, meaning that his client would be able to go home without having to pay any bail money. He also asked to for his client to be put on house arrest. He said that Pierangeli works at Ruffolo’s 2 here in Kenosha and that his job is “waiting for him upon his release.” Melowski then awkwardly said that all of the passengers were intoxicated and “any one of them” could be in Pierangeli’s position. There is no evidence that any of the passengers have driven drunk like Melowski suggested. He said that his client needs to have a “good night’s rest” and can’t do so in the jail. Attorney Melowsky also suggested, without evidence, that blood draws at hospitals are often inaccurate.
Veteran prosecutor Zachary Brost didn’t relent in his request for a half million dollar bond. He told the court that the black box inside the vehicle contained evidence that Pierangeli had his foot 100% depressed on the gas pedal and 0% on the brake at the time the truck ran into Play It Again-l Sports, killing two people and injuring two others. He detailed Pierangeli’s reckless driving and speed in addition to being more than 3.5 times the legal limit.
Kenosha County Court Commissioner William Michel II didn’t buy the defense’s argument that Pierangeli needs a good night’s sleep and should stay out of jail. He re-affirmed his $500,000 bail that he set when he signed Pierangeli’s arrest warrant.
“I’ve had a lot of time to review this criminal complaint. I’m the one who signed the warrant for Mr. Pierangeli. I was very concerned, as counsel brought up, the BAC at .282. Then also the fact that he has a prior conviction for an OWI… At the time he was not [21 years old]. The concern I have, count one [and two are] homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle…this court is very concerned for the safety of this community. You have a young man who allegedly was driving, and we have statements within the criminal complaint from individuals that were in the [private] ambulance that observed his behavior – how he was driving. It’s very concerning – he put not only the four other passengers that were in the vehicle at risk, but he put the whole community at risk by how he was driving and the court does believe that $500,000 is warranted,” said Commissioner Michel.
Pierangeli did appear to cry at one point in today’s hearing, but this author saw no tears.
According to Jenna’s obituary:
“She loved spending time with her family, friends, and especially her cat Max. Her love for animals didn’t stop there as she worked at the Humane Society and fostered kittens and puppies in her free time. She also loved going to the beach and pool, working out with her sister, taking naps, and playing volleyball.
She played competitive volleyball since she was nine years old, including club, high school, and college. Jenna always lived life to the fullest. Just in the last few months, she completed her junior year of college, went on a Mediterranean cruise, and went to Summerfest and Country Thunder. Jenna made everyone around her feel special and loved. Countless people thought of her as their best friend. She had a smile and personality that would light up any room she walked into. Although many are grieving here, Jenna ultimately fulfilled her purpose on earth, and God called her home to Heaven.”
According to Dylan’s obituary:
“Born on July 20, 2001, in Kenosha; he was the son of Erin Zamora.
He was educated in the schools of Kenosha and was a graduate of Tremper High School. He was attending the University of Wisconsin Parkside as a senior pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with the goal of becoming a Physician’s Assistant.
He was an avid lover of all sports, especially soccer, having spent four years on the Tremper soccer team. In his younger years, he played a season of CYC football for the Bears, which didn’t bode well with him as he was a Packer’s fan.
He also greatly enjoyed video games, playing online with friends from all corners of the world. He loved animals, especially dogs and would always talk about how he wanted to have the biggest dog possible someday. He enjoyed traveling and loved going to Minnesota to see his many relatives. He recently shared his aspirations of someday moving to Seattle and raising a family of his own.”