MILWAUKEE — Prosecutors have now charged two men accused of racing at high speeds in Milwaukee and crashing into a third car, killing the two 22-year-old men inside last weekend.
James B. Hinton was charged with one count of first-degree reckless injury and knowingly operating a motor vehicle while revoked – causing great bodily harm to another. If convicted, he could face up to 28 and a half years in prison and fined up to $110,000.
James E. Malone was charged with one count of operating with restricted controlled substance in blood – second offense and two counts of first-degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he could face up to 120 years in prison.
Jerrold Wellinger and Devante Gaines were killed in the crash, at West Hampton Avenue at 60th last Saturday afternoon.
A criminal complaint released Thursday states officers responding to the crash learned a 2018 Dodge Charger driven by Malone struck a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt containing Wellinger and Gaines. The victims' vehicle was then thrown into a utility pole by the impact, "causing catastrophic damage," prosecutors say.
Gaines was found pinned inside the Cobalt, while Wellinger was found on the ground after being thrown from the vehicle. Both were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
The person Malone was racing with at high speeds just before the crash, Hinton, then followed Malone in his 2017 Infiniti into the intersection, onto the median, collided with boulders and hit a parked vehicle, the complaint states.
Video from a Milwaukee County bus shows the 2006 Chevy Cobalt with the two victims driving on the left turn lane preparing to head north. Malone’s Dodge Charger can be seen traveling at a high rate of speed passing vehicles. The victims' vehicle is halfway through its legal turn when the vehicle driven by Malone crashes into the passenger side of the victims' vehicle, according to prosecutors.
A woman can also be seen sitting at the intersection where the crash happened and appears to have been "very nearly struck by the crash," the complaint states.
Officers say the vehicles driven by Hinton and Malone had been racing at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Two witnesses confirmed to investigators that the suspects had been racing, and airbag data from Malone's and Hinton's vehicles show Malone’s vehicle was traveling at 119 miles per hour seconds before the crash, and Hinton's vehicle was traveling 120 miles per hour, according to the complaint.
Hinton attended his initial appearance in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Thursday morning. No court dates have been scheduled for Malone, according to online court records.
The criminal complaint adds that Hinton had been involved in a crash on N. 35th Street on Aug. 18, 2020, when he was turning and a motorcyclist collided with him and was later pronounced dead. Hinton said at the time that "he saw a blur and then felt a violent collision." He tested positive for cannabis following the crash, prosecutors say.