Austin crash suspect’s bail remains high; defense enters speedy trial demand

(ABC 6 News) – An Austin man accused of causing the crash that sent 16-year-old Wyatt Hamlin to the hospital appeared in court Tuesday to contest his $125,000 bail.

Jeffer Lorenzo, 23, has been held in the Mower County jail on charges of Criminal Vehicular Operation–Great Bodily Harm, Under the influence of alcohol; CVO–GBH, Driver who causes collision leaves the scene; CVO–Causes bodily harm, Under the influence of alcohol; and CVO–Causes bodily harm, Driver who causes collision leaves the scene.

Lorenzo faces two other charges of 4th-degree driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, for a total of six charges.

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On Aug. 1, Judge Natalie Martinez set Lorenzo’s unconditional bail at $250,000, with conditional bail at $125,000. The conditions would include alcohol monitoring and contact with probation.

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, defense attorney Paul Spyhalski argued that Lorenzo’s bail was unconstitutionally high, and did not allow him a chance at release ahead of his trial, given the defendant’s reliance on a public defender.

“Our feeling, your honor, is that if a former president that seeks to overturn an election, who has access to money, can have a $200,000 bail, someone who is indigent should certainly have something (closer) to $50,000 bail,” Spyhalski told Judge Jeffrey Kritzer.

Prosecuting attorney Chris Grean argued that Hamlin’s severe injuries from the crash Lorenzo is suspected of causing mean the teenager is still unconscious most of the time.

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Furthermore, Grean argued, there could be danger to the public if Lorenzo was released and then continued the behavior that led to his alleged involvement in the crash.

In Lorenzo’s case, Kritzer concluded that the danger to the public was high following the DWI crash. Kritzer also pointed out that Lorenzo had been accused of fleeing police on foot following the crash — which could indicate a willingness to evade law enforcement in the future.

Spyhalski requested a speedy trial in response. Lorenzo’s pretrial hearing has been set for Oct. 2, with a jury trial scheduled to begin Oct. 16.