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Second man arrested and charged in Westby UTV hit and run case that left Minnesota woman seriously injured

WESTBY, Wis. – The Westby Police Department released a statement today that a second man has been taken into custody regarding the UTV accident that took place in the City of Westby on February 4 that left a Minnesota woman seriously injured on the side of the road. According to the statement Robert Purvis, 21, of Viroqua has been taken into custody and booked at the Vernon County Jail. He has been charged with First Degree Reckless Endangerment as a party to a crime with more charges pending.

The accident took place on Bekkedal Ave. in the city of Westby in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 4 . According to police Emily R. Helseth, 36, of White Bear Lake, Minn. was walking on Bekkedal Avenue when she was struck by a UTV. Helseth was initially taken by ambulance to Vernon Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse. Helseth reportedly suffered extensive injuries, including a collapsed lung, broken back, broken wrist, and an injured jaw.

Westby Police, along with the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources continued to investigate, and by the evening of Sunday, Feb. 4 they reported that Mitchell L. Mckittrick, 22, of Viroqua was arrested in connection with the accident.

According to the court documents, prosecutors believe McKittrick dragged her from the road to a snowbank after she had been pinned underneath the UTV. Police spoke with a witness who said McKittrick called him and asked him to come to the scene around 1:49 a.m. Court documents show the first officer was dispatched to the scene at 3:23 a.m., almost two hours later.

Mitchell Mckittrick appeared in Vernon County Circuit Court on Monday, Feb. 5 and bond has was set at $10,000 cash. Purvis will likely have a bond hearing in Vernon County Circuit Court this week. Helseth is recovering. Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help with her medical bills. As of today the fund has collected over $26,000.

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