Man who allegedly hit woman with truck in downtown Madison charged with felony hit-and-run

Brendan Oneil
Brendan Oneil

MADISON, Wis. — The man accused of hitting a woman with a pickup truck while driving near a crowd of protesters in late June has been charged with felony hit-and-run causing injury, according to a criminal complaint.

Court records claim that 26-year-old Brendan Oneil was driving a GMC pickup truck near the intersection of North Frances and Gilman streets when he drove into a crowd of people at the intersection and hit a woman, sending her to a hospital.

During a subsequent investigation, police identified Oneil as the registered owner of the truck that drove through the crowd thanks to a license plate photo given to police shortly after the hit-and-run. Oneil reportedly called police on June 21 to tell them he was the person driving the vehicle at the time of the incident.

Oneil told police he was leaving the parking ramp on Frances Street when he saw the large crowd near Wando’s, at the corner of Frances Street and University Avenue. Oneil claimed several people in the crowd tried pulling him out of the truck as he approached. He went on to claim that he drove into the crowd after seeing someone with a gun tucked in their waistband.

According to the criminal complaint, Oneil “didn’t know for sure” if he had hit anyone during the incident.

In a statement after the incident, the victim said, “I was just crossing the street to go get some nachos, pee, and go home. Why did he f-cking hit me? He was parked. There’s no reason to hit me.”

The hit-and-run sparked anger in the community, especially after a local activist group called the hit-and-run a hate crime. In a since deleted Facebook post, Urban Triage said the driver was a white supremacist who intentionally hit a Black woman.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to asked for transparency during the investigation after protesters gathered the night of June 21 to denounce the incident. A short time later, Madison police shared dash came footage from their response to the hit-and-run. Police announced June 23 that they had identified a person of interest in the incident.

A few days later, on June 25, police arrested Oneil for his suspected involvement in the hit-and-run. He was released from jail after posting a $350 bond.

If convicted, Oneil faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or nine months in prison.