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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Melowski left some things out of his argument that the State of Wisconsin will likely add later:
- This is his second OWI causing serious injury – both before he turned 21.
- 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.
- Any health concerns are his fault and his fault alone, allegedly.
The judge will hear arguments on October 27, 2023 at 9:00 am.