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Kenosha County Eye

Attorney For Man Alleged To Have Killed Two Friends In OWI Crash Uses Handwritten Note From Victim’s Mom To Reduce Bail

Homicide Defendant Ajay Pierangeli and Attorney Dennis Melowski
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

A lawyer for a Pleasant Prairie man named Ajay Pierangeli has asked a Kenosha Circuit Court Judge to reduce his client’s bail to the tune of one half million dollars – from $500,000 to $0. The Kenosha County DA’s office charged Ajay Pierangeli with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, class D felonies, 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.

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The charges stemmed from a July 28, 2023 crash that took two lives and severely injured three others. 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 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.

Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner William Michel II
(File Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner William Michel II signed Pierangeli’s arrest warrant and placed the cash value at $500,000. Defense counsel asked for a lower bail amount, but Michel  declined, citing the seriousness of the allegations.

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Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Gerad Dougvillo
(Photo by Kevin Mathewson, Kenosha County Eye)

On September 20, 2023, Melowski asked Circuit Court Judge Gerad Dougvillo to give Pierangeli a no-cash bail. The arguments might sound strange to some. Melowski lists the number of family members of Pierangeli that live in the area. He also says that Pierangeli has many friends in the area. He also, strangely, even named one of Pierangeli’s aunts, who has a prominent last name in Kenosha. Melowski also says “Mr. Pierangeli will not try to ‘pull the wool over’ the Court’s eyes to imply that he attends church weekly-as he does not-however, neither does he completely abstain from a spiritual life.” Melowski also says that  the establishment where Pierangeli was employed will “immediately take Pierangeli back to work if he is released.” Melowski classifies this fact as something that “speaks volumes about Mr. Pierangeli’s character.” However,  KCE spoke to the owner of the business who said “I was never contacted by [the] attorney…. I was in law enforcement for over 30 years my heart goes out to families of the victims and of AJ’s. It is a horrible situation.”

Melowski also cites to Pierangeli’s injuries he allegedly caused to himself as a reason why he must immediately be released from jail. Melowski also alleges, without citing any evidence that the victims’ families are not seeking severe punishment.

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Melowski did, however give Judge Dougvillo a letter allegedly written by one of the surviving victim’s mother and given to Pierangeli’s parents that said “I just wanted to stop by & give you all a hug. You are in our thoughts & prayers.”

We asked Melowski if this letter was written to Pierangeli’s parents, who are also victims. Their son will likely spend many years in prison. We also asked him if he got the woman’s permission to use this personal letter to benefit his client. He didn’t respond.

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Melowski left some things out of his argument that the State of Wisconsin will likely add later:

  1. This is his second OWI causing serious injury – both before he turned 21.
  2. He could be seen as a danger to the rest of the public as he seems to not believe the rules about not driving at 3.5 times the legal limit apply to him.
  3. Any health concerns are his fault and his fault alone, allegedly.

The judge will hear arguments on October 27, 2023 at 9:00 am.


  • Kevin Mathewson

    Kevin Mathewson is a disciple of Christ, husband and a father to two wonderful children. Mathewson was born and raised in Lake County, IL and worked as a police & fire dispatcher from 2005 to 2010 in Round Lake Beach, IL. Mathewson moved to Kenosha County in 2006, later being elected to the position of Alderman of the 8th District in 2012 and 2016. Mathewson is a private investigator, security contractor, journalist, and photographer. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, camping and boating. His favorite amendment is the second, followed closely by the first. He loves his country and community.


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19 Responses

  1. Disgusting. I know people who have sat longer for far less serious crimes. This man killed 2 people. Oh poor baby, he harmed himself. Thanks for letting me know where not to eat in Kenosha. Boycott all their businesses

    1. You would not be missing much. Tried Ruffalos once, was not impressed with the food or the service.

      1. Why would you suggest not patronizing his uncles business when his uncle had nothing to do with this horrible accident? Just because his uncle said he’d allow Ajay to come back to work there? It’s obvious that Ajay is not getting out unless someone can post his bail. To encourage not patronizing a small, independent business is so wrong. Maybe you need to go eat at Applebees.

  2. Here we go again. The perpetrator of a horrific crime is the victim because he is behind bars waiting trial. Well I am going to say that his actions that night/ early morning are a clear display of why he needs a high cash bond. Bond protects our community from reckless behavior from individuals who have no regard for everyone’s safety. In this case he can use the time to clean his system from alcohol, as this seems to be his issue in the first place. This is not punishment it’s for the community’s safety. This is his second incident involving a drunken driving crash. Do we even want to consider the possibility of a third? Look at how many people violate conditions of bond. This may save him from even more exposure. Hope bond stays right where it has been set.

  3. Jail time. Maybe somewhere down the road he will get let out early, but there are consequences for his actions, and he needs to be held accountable.

    1. Speaking of consequences and being held accountable for someone’s actions, what’s new or going on in the Steinbrink JR case? Let’s not allow this to be buried! Let’s keep it open and talked about!

      I don’t know the EXACT quote, but in the beginning of all the Steinbrink JR case, KCE mentioned that the prosecutor, Hansen, tends to help make things “go away.” Let’s not allow that to happen PLEASE. Keep posting court dates and anything to inform us of things happening with his case.

  4. It is so unbelievable that people want to turn a blind eye to such egregious behavior. People should come forward who have lost a relative or friend to a drunk driver or who have been maimed by one.

  5. So Steiny is free and easy for another 7 months. What a joke. And no need to be a dick about it.

  6. Such sadness for all; however, he has to be held accountable for his actions. Unfortunately he did not learn the first time. He will have plenty of time in prison to think about future choices.

  7. This is his 2nd OWI!! First OWI I can see as a horrible mistake that a truly remorseful person would not allow to happen again. Anything after that is a conscious decision for that action and a complete disregard for anybody else’s safety.

  8. The felony D charges have been changed to Felony C since it is not his first offense. The letter from Sarah Wajerski was written 2 days after the accident happened before all the details were even known. He belongs in prison. Actions have consequences, and he has never had any from his family or otherwise. Every time he gets in trouble, mommy and daddy hire an attorney to get him out of it and get it off his record. He is a danger to anyone around him.

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