SHEBOYGAN — A 40-year-old Sheboygan father is facing child neglect charges after his two young children fell out of a van this week in Sheboygan.
Former attorney, Robert W. Horsch, who resides at 1942 North 5th Street in Sheboygan, was charged with two felony counts of neglecting a child and felony knowingly operate motor vehicle while revoked – cause great bodily harm to another.
At approximately 7:25 PM on Tuesday, May 1st, police officers were called to the roundabout at South 8th Street and Indiana Avenue in Sheboygan for a report of two juveniles falling out of the back of a van. The vehicle continued to drive away leaving the children behind. Multiple individuals called 911 and there were several witnesses on scene when officers arrived.
According to the criminal complaint, a police officer made contact with the witnesses who were holding the two children, later identified as a 22-month-old and 3-year-old. The officer immediately noticed one child had blood and abrasions on his chin and the other child had abrasions on his back and buttock area. The younger child was also completely naked – no clothes or diaper. Both children were extremely frantic and upset.
The children were immediately transported to Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center by ambulance. Ultimately, one child suffered road rash on his on his back and upper buttock area, abrasions to his chin, and a chipped front tooth. The other child suffered road rash on his shoulder, back, and top of his buttock, as well as an occipital skull fracture and accompanying occipital scalp soft tissue swelling and small hematoma.
Once the two children were identified, an officer responded to the children’s residence where an officer found Horsch, the father of the children, getting out of the van and making contact, stating that two of his children were missing. The officer told Horsch that the children were located and at the hospital. When the officer explained to Horsch that his children were seen falling out of his vehicle, the father expressed disbelief that that could have occurred. Horsch said the children must have climbed over the seat and opened the door on their own, though he did not know how or that it occurred.
Horsch later admitted to police the incident was his fault.
Another officer interviewed Horsch at the Sheboygan Police Department, during which time he told police that when they initially got in the van earlier that evening, he told his 12 and 10-year-old children to buckle in the three other children. The father admitted that he did not see or check that his two oldest sons actually did buckle in their siblings.
After dropping of children at Campus Life, Horsch had noticed both the 22-month-old and 3-year-old were out of their car seats and playing. He told them to sit down, but took no further action according to the criminal complaint. Specifically, he did not stop his vehicle to ensure they were properly restrained and admitted that he probably should have done so.
Horsch stated multiple times during police questioning that he didn’t even know the back doors of the van opened from the inside. He denied seeing any interior light or hearing any warning bells in the vehicle that would signal the door was open. Horsch advised police that his 2-year-old didn’t say anything to him about the two other children falling out of the car. Additionally, he admitted that his driver’s license was revoked and that he knew it was revoked when he operated the motor vehicle that evening.
The father also admitted that he was taking prescription medication for depression and anxiety, and police noted that Horsch’s eyes were red and he was exhibiting signs of cotton mouth at the time of the interview. Horsch refused to perform standardized field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a chemical analysis of his blood, though stated he would submit to a breath test only. There were no signs that Horsch was intoxicated by alcohol, so a search warrant was obtained and executed for his blood, the results of which are still pending.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended Horsch’s attorney license for 60 days last December after he failed to report his fourth OWI to state officials. “Attorney Horsch’s multiple OWI convictions are unquestionably a serious failing that ‘reflects adversely on his fitness as a lawyer in other respects,'” the court said in its decision.
According to the State Bar of Wisconsin, Horsch is still suspended.