MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police officer Frank Vrtochnick was moved out of the intensive care unit Tuesday, according to one of the nurses that has been caring for him at Froedtert Hospital. Vrtochnick was struck by a vehicle during patrols Christmas night, and the driver fled the scene. A judge ordered Juan Alvarado held on $50,000 cash bail during a court appearance Monday, and FOX6 is learning more about what happened Christmas night.
One of Vrtochnick's nurses says she no longer considers him to be in critical condition, and says his condition is stable, but still serious.
19-year-old Juan Alvarado is charged with first degree reckless injury, and first degree recklessly endangering safety in connection with the Christmas night hit and run. His next court appearance is a preliminary hearing set for January 18th.
As Alvarado awaits his next court appearance, FOX6 has obtained search warrants that say Alvarado sent a text message to his mom on Christmas night, saying he just got into an accident, but couldn't remember what happened. FOX6 attempted to contact Alvarado's mother Tuesday, but her listed phone number has been disconnected.
Alvarado was arrested after a tip led Milwaukee police to his black Chevy Malibu, stored in a garage near 15th Street and 15th Place last week. With the help of Chicago police, Alvarado was located in Illinois, hiding in a bus stop bathroom. According to authorities, he was trying to board a bus to Texas, and then cross into Mexico. The search warrants obtained by FOX6 say during an interview in Chicago, Alvarado admitted to driving his car during the accident.
Vrtochnick's family has declined interview requests, but continue to send messages through the Milwaukee Police Department. Their most recent message came Tuesday morning, thanking police, family and friends, saying they're "the friends we haven't met yet," and thanking all for supporting Vrtochnick in his recovery.