UW-Madison student searches for answers after hit-and-run

A UW-Madison senior says he’s without transportation after his bike was destroyed in a hit-and-run.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:18 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:27 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A UW-Madison senior says he’s without transportation after his bike was destroyed in a hit-and-run.

Alex Lehmkuhl says the incident happened just after 2 a.m. Nov. 1 in downtown Madison near the corner of Main and Bedford Streets.

He says a car hit him and knocked him off of his bike. “I was in shock,” said Lehmkuhl. When the driver pulled over, Alex says he tried to exchange information and suggested they wait for police. He says the man didn’t want to wait and offered his phone number instead.

Alex says after the man gave him his number he quickly drove away before Alex could jot down a license plate number or get a name.

“I was bleeding so naturally the first thing I was thinking of is going home. My apartment is two buildings away.” Alex says he walked home carrying his now destroyed bike and all his personal items that were scattered across the street after he was hit.

Later that day, Alex says he tried to call the driver, but the number was not in service. “He gave me a fake number,” said Alex. Since he only had minor injuries and the incident happened earlier that morning, he called Madison Police’s non-emergency line to report a hit and run.

“The main thing they wanted to know was if I was at the scene of the accident. I told them I was not but my apartment two buildings away.” Alex says he was told that because he left the scene, they weren’t able to send officers to file a report and he was directed to fill out a form online. However, he couldn’t complete the form because he didn’t have enough information on the driver.

“I called back the police because I was very distraught.” He says MPD told him again that because he left the scene, there was nothing they could do.

Alex then spent days doing his own investigation but calls to area businesses for surveillance video were unsuccessful. He also says he tried to get help from campus police but they directed him back to MPD.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Lehmkuhl. Weeks later, he’s still without a bike, which was his primary transportation.

Now he’s worried he’ll never track down the driver. “There’s a very strong chance that all the footage that would have been taped from this incident has already been erased,” said Alex.

Alex says he had to reach out to his local alder to get MPD to file a police report on the incident. NBC15 reached out to Madison Police to find out why a report wasn’t filed right away.

A spokesperson says that under these circumstances, protocol does not require an officer to come out and complete a report since the scene was not active and both parties left.

Alex says as the victim in this case, he’s frustrated that he had to take so many steps to get a report filed. He says he’s grateful his injuries were not worse but that he is seeking compensation for his destroyed bike.

MPD says it has been working to resolve the incident but at this time, there are no additional steps or leads in the investigation.

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