LANCASTER, Wis. - It turns out the Good Samaritan who made the 911 call in Grant County's hit- and-run incident Wednesday was fabricating her story.
Her actions had her hailed as a hero just days ago.
Now Grant County authorities say 47-year-old Cheryl Walton sparked a cover-up following the pedestrian hit-and-run.
The incident happened early Wednesday morning along University Farm Road in Lancaster.
A vehicle struck 19-year-old Jacob Colson, who suffered fractures to his leg. Colson was airlifted to UW Hospital, where he underwent several hours of surgery. Colson is currently listed in fair condition.
Sheriff's officials said Colson was accidentally run over by a 20-year-old Potosi man as a group of friends were leaving a party.17709030
In an exclusive conversation with WISC-TV, Walton said there was no excuse for what she lied about, but said she wanted to protect everyone -- not only the 19-year-old victim, who is a friend of her daughters, but also the ones who were responsible for causing the crash.
Walton's 911 call was the catalyst for bringing emergency help to the rural Lancaster road.
"And I realized I had a big feather pillow that goes on top of a bed in the back of my van," said Walton, who said she attended to Colson's injuries immediately. "So I grabbed that out and put it over top of him."
Further into the 911 call, Walton made a decision that changed the course of the hit-and-run investigation.
"Is the car still there?" asked the dispatcher.
"No, (Jacob) is on the ground," Walton said to the dispatcher. "I was going in town to get coffee. I need an ambulance right away."
Days after the call, Walton now admits the story about getting coffee was a lie.
"The whole situation should have never happened to begin with," said Walton. "And it was a horrible accident, and nobody even meant to cover it up."
Colson is a friend of Walton's daughters. The group of friends was coming home from a party when authorities said Colson was exiting one vehicle to get into another. That's when one of the drivers accidentally ran Colson over, sheriff's officials said.
"They went and got Ms. Walton, at her residence, a short distance from where this happened," said Grant County Sheriff Nate Dreckman. "Brought her up to the scene. She says, 'You guys go back to the house and hide. I'll take care of it.' And she makes the 911 call."
Walton told WISC-TV she told her children and their friends to go back in the house but denies telling them to hide.
"I was more worried about Jacob and protecting everybody else that I loved at the same time," said Walton. "I don't know what I was thinking. I did not panic in the medical situation. I wanted to help Jacob. But I panicked (in my mind)."
Grant County authorities said the delay from Walton's cover-up could have easily turned fatal.
"We're talking in excess of 10 minutes this young man was laying on the road. It's 4:30 in the morning in 30-degree weather with a very severe injury. So that's the tragedy of this," Dreckman said.
"I just hope everybody can forgive us for it," said Walton. "We did not intentionally try to hurt anybody."
Authorities said the driver in this case, 20-year-old Daniel Udelhoven of Potosi, is expected to face hit-and-run charges. Walton is also expected to face charges related to the cover-up, sheriff's officials said.
It's still uncertain if alcohol played a factor, and Grant County authorities said that since so many days passed before the truth emerged, they may never fully know.
- Family remembers fire that took 4 kids' lives 25 years later
- Plea deal reached in killing of 13-year-old girl in 1982
- Madison Club donation focuses on 100 Black Men, achievement gap
- Madison Metro bus driver retires after half a century
- City streets dept. denies telling MMSD roads were OK
- Icy conditions send more people to ER for falls