MILWAUKEE -- Juan Alvarado appeared in court Monday charged with two felony counts for his alleged role in a Christmas Day crash that critically injured Milwaukee Police Officer Frank Vrtochnick. Those charges include first-degree reckless injury and first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
Officer Vrtochnick was hit by a passing car on Christmas Day. Vrtochnick has since undergone several surgeries for leg and face injuries, and remains in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital.
In court Monday, a judge ordered Alvarado to maintain absolute sobriety until his preliminary hearing which is set for January 18th.
Cash bond for Alvarado was set at $50,000.
This is the first court appearance for Alvarado, who was brought back from Illinois Friday evening, after waiving his extradition hearing. Police say he was at a bus stop, trying to get to Mexico. Prosecutors say the seriousness of the charges, combined with Alvarado's apparent attempt to flee, warrants the $50,000 cash bond. "It does appear that you took steps to leave the state, and to evade arrest in this case. I balance that against your young age, and that I'm not aware of any criminal record, but nevertheless, I do believe substantial cash bail is necessary," a judge said in court Monday.
The break in this case came last Wednesday, when police recieved a tip and were able to recover the black Chevy Malibu from a garage near 15th Street and 15th Place, with damage corresponding to the Christmas night hit and run. Then, with the help of Chicago police, Alvarado was located in Illinois, and extradited to Milwaukee on Friday.
Alvarado was quiet in court Monday, only giving a few single-word responses when prompted by his interpreter.
The District Attorney's office is planning to file an amended criminal complaint later this week. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and District Attorney John Chisholm are also planning a news conference within the next few days.