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Man charged in deadly hit-and-run of former Marquette University dean

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 19:46:58-05

MILWAUKEE — A 21-year-old Milwaukee man was charged in the fatal hit-and-run of the former dean of Marquette University, Joseph Daniels.

Jordan Jones was charged with the felonies of hit and run - resulting in death and knowingly operating a motor vehicle while suspended - causing death. If found guilty, Jones could spend 31 years behind bars and face up to $110,000 in fines.

A criminal complaint released Wednesday states Milwaukee police officers were sent to a crash at North 10th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue on the night of Feb. 11, 2020.

There they found the victim, later identified as Dr. Joe Daniels, seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle. He passed away shortly afterward from injuries sustained in the hit-and-run, according to the complaint. Daniels was the Dean of Business Administration at Marquette.

A witness told officers then that he saw a car drive down 10th Street with a man on top of the hood of a vehicle. When the vehicle stopped, the man on the hood fell to the ground. An off-duty Milwaukee police officer then rushed to the scene to help.

A crash reconstruction unit's investigation later concluded that the victim was walking across 10th Street near the crosswalk when an Infiniti collided with him.

The complaint states that at the scene of the crash, a woman indicated she was driving the car when the crash occurred. A man identified himself as the defendent, Jones. He told officers he was in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash.

During an interview with police, the woman changed her initial story and told investigators that she was the passenger in the car and that Jones was driving, the complaint states. She said Jones drove through an intersection with a green light, followed by a "bang and glass breaking."

The complaint states she said Jones told her they needed to switch seats because she had a driver's license.

According to investigators, the car they drove in smelled of marijuana. They also concluded that the position of the seat and side mirrors would only accommodate the taller Jones, the complaint states.

During an interview with police, Jones said that following the crash, he couldn't get out of the passenger's door, so he exited using the driver's side door. He also repeated that he did not drive the car during the crash, the complaint states.

The complaint continues that a short time later, Jones told investigators that he didn't think the woman was the driver either.

According to the complaint:

"JONES stated this was a very sticky situation for him because he is a felon, JONES then inferred that police “wanted him” not AAC. Officer HANNEY informed JONES that he seeks only the truth. Officer HANNEY told JONES that police know either he or AAC was driving at the time of the crash and that whoever was actually driving should be held responsible for being the driver. JONES replied with 'but it’s an accident.'"

Sixteen days after the crash, the woman told investigators that she believed Jones tried to intimidate her and get her to refuse to cooperate with police, according to the complaint.

Investigators concluded:

"First, defendant JONES did not render aid as he did not complete his call to 911 or take any affirmative steps to aid the victim himself. He passively waited as others responded and attended to the victim. Second, defendant JONES did not provide information. He never identified himself as the driver who struck and killed the victim. Instead he persuaded his passenger, AAC, tell authorities that she was the driver. Defendant Jones never, certainly not at the time of the crash, came forward to a representative of the victim or to law enforcement, indicated he was in fact driving and struck the victim, and provided his registration and driver’s license information to a representative of the victim or law enforcement on his own accord. Furthermore, defendant JONES was in fact physically capable of complying with these requirements."

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