MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man was charged with homicide after prosecutors say he was the driver of a vehicle that crashed and left a 3-and-a-half-month-old infant dead this week.
Christopher D. Barnes, 35, was charged with one count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, one count of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle (great bodily harm), possession of a firearm by
a felon and bail jumping (felony), a criminal complaint released Friday states.
If convicted, Barnes could face up to 53-and-a-half years in prison and fined up to $160,000.
The crash happened in the 3300 block of West Greenfield Avenue last Monday, when Barnes allegedly crashed his car into an unoccupied car while speeding and intoxicated. The baby child, a four-year-old girl and a 27-year-old woman riding in Barnes' car were all injured, while Barnes escaped unscathed, prosecutors say.
On Wednesday, Milwaukee police said that the infant had succumbed to her injuries suffered in the crash.
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The criminal complaint states Milwaukee police responded to the crash around 12:30 p.m. that day and reviewed surveillance video footage. Police say the footage showed a Chevrolet Impala traveling at a high rate of speed, crossing lanes of traffic and then striking a parked truck. Both vehicles were severely damaged in the crash.
At the scene of the crash, officers reported that the seatback of the front passenger seat was pushed forward, consistent with an unrestrained passenger hitting the rear of the seat.
The complaint states a witness told investigators that they saw citizens carrying a limp four-year-old girl from the Impala, whom they brought into the witness's home. The child was later brought to the hospital with a broken femur.
The witness also reported that another citizen brought a four or five-month-old child into the witness's home. The witness said that child was in a car carrier, but that there were no belts in the car carrier to hold the child inside it.
Investigators recovered the car carrier and confirmed the details, the complaint states.
The child later passed away from her injuries at Children’s Hospital.
Police then met the driver of the Impala, Christopher Barnes. During a field sobriety test, Barnes' appeared to be impaired, nod off or daydream and sway so much that an officer had to reach out and brace him, the complaint states.
The defendant was not able to maintain his balance during the walk and turn test and the one-leg stand test, police say.
Police concluded that Barnes was under the influence of a combination of impairing substances, "including Narcotic Analgesics, Central Nervous System Depressants and Cannabis and was unable to operate a motor vehicle safety," according to the complaint.
The results from the drug test are pending.
Back at the scene of the crash, officers found a Springfield Armory .45 caliber pistol on the floor of the driver’s side of the front passenger compartment of the Impala, prosecutors say.
During an interview with Barnes, the suspect told investigators that he had been driving the Impala and that he had taken three Oxycodone pills to get “a little more chill.” He added that at some point, he and the older woman were both taking oxycodone and Xanax with the children present in the vehicle, prosecutors state.
He said also admitted that the gun found in the car was his, according to the complaint. He claimed he carried it for protection even though he was prohibited from doing so because he is a felon.
During an interview with police, the 27-year-old woman said that her two children, the four-year-old girl and the infant, were in the back seat of the Impala. She said she had known the defendant for about three months.
The woman told investigators that Barnes called her that morning to see if she could get him some pills.
The woman said she normally waits for her mother to get home so she can leave the children with her. But her mother wouldn't be home until later that day - and the defendant wanted pills right away, the complaint states.
She continued to investigators that they drove to a gas station, where she purchased three Percocet pills and one Xanax, and that the defendant took two of the Percocets and half of the Xanax while she consumed the rest, according to prosecutors.
The complaint states the woman said they then drove to another location, bought marijuana and smoked it outside the car in the Mitchell Park Domes parking lot. The woman said she couldn't remember much afterward "because she was nodding off and feeling good," according to prosecutors.
Following the crash, another witness told police that he heard a crash and then saw a man in a white t-shirt outside the car arguing with people, police say.
The witness said that he overheard a man with a yellow hat telling the man in the white t-shirt that he didn’t seem to care that his kids were injured and that one of them wasn’t breathing. The witness said that he heard the man in the white t-shirt reply “those aren’t my kids," the complaint states.
Online court records do not yet reflect Barnes' charges.
Barnes was previously convicted of felony Hit and Run Resulting in Death and has an open felony of Possession of a Firearm.