Milwaukee hit-and-run crash; Jerome Ealy sentenced to 10 years prison

Jerome Ealy

Jerome Ealy of Milwaukee pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Jan. 3 to a charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle – and was then sentenced to ten years in prison plus another six years of extended supervision.

Ealy had been charged in connection with a hit-and-run crash at 46th and Burleigh on Jan. 31, 2022. The victim was a 57-year-old man, Julius "Bud" Rodgers.

Ealy had faced two other charges in connection with the crime – hit and run-involve death as well as homicide by use of a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol content. The hit-and-run charge was dismissed and read into the court record for the purposes of sentencing – and the second homicide charge was dismissed on the prosecutor's motion.

Case details

According to the criminal complaint against Ealy, officers obtained video from a nearby store. That video shows Rodgers standing in the roadway talking to someone in a vehicle. The complaint says a car "traveling eastbound on W. Burleigh goes around and strikes (Rodgers), causing him to fly in the air. The striking vehicle slows and then flees from the scene and does not stop, does not check on (Rodgers) and does not provide anyone their information."

Julius "Bud" Rodgers

Investigators say the striking vehicle "was described as a silver Cadillac." The complaint says debris was left behind at the scene of the crash and included part of the Cadillac's grill and other "silver pieces from the body of the striking car."

Police say a citizen witness saw the incident -- and followed the suspect vehicle.

Hit-and-run near 46th and Burleigh

About 40 minutes after the crash, officers located the Cadillac parked near N. 37th Street and W. Fond du Lac Avenue. The car was not running. The complaint says the "Cadillac had severe damage to it, including a smashed windshield and damaged grill (also specifically a part missing that matched the piece left at the scene). Officers had to wake the defendant up. He smelled of alcohol and appeared intoxicated." The complaint says Ealy failed field sobriety tests.

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Ealy eventually gave a statement to officers that was documented in the criminal complaint. It says Ealy "admitted driving the silver Cadillac he was found in. The defendant admitted he had drank at his aunt's home and then felt tired so he decided to head home. (Ealy) stated he was driving eastbound on W. Burleigh and that he thought he might have struck a dog. The defendant stated he wasn't sure and that after striking the object, he said he didn't see anything so he then drove to a liquor store and then home. (Ealy) then sat in his Cadillac and drank before falling asleep in his vehicle."