Alleged assault leads to aggravated battery charges
A Sparta man was charged with aggravated battery earlier this week after a West Salem man was critically injured outside of a Sparta bar early Sunday morning.
On March 3, at 12:23 a.m., the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the Rite Spot Tavern for what was originally reported as an ambulance call for a male party who was reported unconscious. Officers received further information from dispatch that the unconscious individual was the victim of an alleged assault.
According to the complaint, witnesses at the scene identified the suspect as 34-year-old Joshua P. Orrico and reported to law enforcement that he had left the bar on foot across State Highway 16 toward Walrath St.
When officers arrived on scene, the injured victim was reportedly being supported by a witness in a sitting position. He was unresponsive yet breathing and there was blood on the sidewalk.
The witness, a friend of both Orrico and the victim, told officers he had no idea what could have provoked Orrico.
The witness said he and the victim had followed Orrico out of the bar after he supposedly tried to pick a fight with another individual. The witness reported that the victim and Orrico were simply looking at each other and the next thing he knew Orrico allegedly hit him.
Orrico then reportedly jumped on top of the victim when the witness said he thought he saw Orrico slam the victim’s head on the ground. The witness reportedly tried to pull Orrico off the victim by grabbing the back of Orrico’s shirt telling him to “get off” and when Orrico didn’t the witness had to “choke him out” in an effort to get him to let go of the victim.
He said he held Orrico until he “tapped out” and then let him go. The witness said once he released Orrico, he was reportedly gasping for air before he got up and walked away.
The witness said he heard the victim gurgling so he sat him up and supported him with his legs. He said there was no reason for the "attack.”
The victim was loaded into the ambulance where paramedics began treating him for his injuries. According to the complaint, the victim needed to be intubated and transported to Sparta Mayo Hospital where he was later airlifted to Gundersen Hospital in La Crosse.
Another officer located Orrico walking a short distance from the tavern; he reportedly had snow all over his back, his pants were wet and there was a small amount of blood on his pant leg. He allegedly had injuries consistent with being in a fight, however, he reportedly denied being in one or hitting anybody.
Orrico allegedly displayed several clues of impairment including a very strong odor of intoxicants, swaying, poor balance, droopy eyelids, slurred speech and glossy eyes. His preliminary breath test was reportedly .235.
Orrico was arrested and taken to the Monroe County Jail.
In Monroe County Circuit Court on Monday, Orrico was charged with 2nd degree recklessly endangering safety, aggravated battery intending to cause bodily harm and disorderly conduct.
He was released Monday on a $5,000 signature bond with special conditions not to have contact with the victim, not to consume alcohol or be in any bar, tavern, or liquor store, and not to act or threaten to act in any violent way.
The victim remains hospitalized.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Sparta Police Department, Sparta Ambulance, and the Monroe County 911 Communications Center.