By Karen Stokes
It has been nearly a year since community leader Caesar Stinson’s life was cut short as a result of a fatal crash caused by a former Milwaukee County Sheriff deputy. A trial in the case is scheduled to begin next month.
Stinson, 47, was killed when former Sheriff Deputy Joel Streicher, 51, drove through a red light into the intersection at North 10th Street and West State Street on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020.
According to the criminal complaint, Streicher said he had looked at his computer screen while driving, but he didn’t know how long or how many times. The investigation determined he was in the wrong lane and ran a red light, and the crash analysis showed the light had been red for 11 seconds prior to the crash.
Stinson was traveling eastbound on West State Street through a green light when Streicher’s squad car hit his pickup truck. It spun then rolled onto the driver’s side. Stinson was partially ejected from his seat. His head was wedged between the road and the driver’s side door.
A female passenger was pinned sideways in her seat, held in by her seat belt.
An autopsy later determined Stinson suffered multiple complex skull fractures and died from the blunt force trauma of the crash.
On Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 Streicher pleaded guilty to homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and his sentencing was set for March 19. He faces up to five years in prison and five years of extended supervision, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Streicher resigned from the sheriff’s office in the fall of 2020.
This is not the first time the former sheriff deputy has been in trouble with the law. According to a Fox 6 News story, Streicher was involved in a similar crash on July 25, 2018 near North 11th Street and West Highland Avenue. Body camera footage showed Streicher was driving the same unmarked squad and was exiting I-43 southbound at Highland Avenue in a left turn only lane. Streicher continued straight and collided with another vehicle.
In April 2019, Streicher pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with a prostitution bust. Streicher previously sought to prevent the release of his prior disciplinary record. The case is still open.
Stinson’s death has not only left a void in the community but can never be replaced in the hearts of his family and friends.
“Caesar was a God-fearing man who was very much loved in the community. He tried to make a positive difference with our youth,” Earl Stokes, a WJMR announcer and friend of Stinson, said. “He had so much more to give to this world; it’s unfortunate his life was cut short.”