Police: Driver who struck girls in Middleton identified

The man who was driving a truck that struck and seriously injured two middle-school-aged girls has been identified and is expected to face charges, police said Friday morning.

Earlier Friday, police said the injured 12-year-old and 13-year-old were were in stable condition. They suffered significant but non-life-threatening injuries.

Ross Cotter-Brown, 30, of Edgerton, was still at UW Hospital Friday, but was expected to be released soon, police said in a news release.

Middleton police Chief Chuck Foulke said that once Cotter-Brown receives medical clearance, he will be transported to the Dane County Jail “on as of yet undetermined felony charges related to hit and run and reckless endangerment.” Cotter-Brown was at the hospital being treated, but not from injuries he sustained in the crash, officials said. Police asked anyone with knowledge of Cotter-Brown’s whereabouts or activities on Thursday to contact the Middleton Police Department.

Both girls were hit by a pickup truck Thursday afternoon by a truck that was coming down Century Avenue. The driver had been in a pursuit with Dane County Sheriff’s deputies just before the crash.

A second serious crash occurred several blocks west of the pedestrian crash on Century Avenue at Northbrook Drive, which disabled the suspect vehicle, police said. That crash was head-on, and the driver of that vehicle was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy saw a white truck driving erratically and speeding on County Road M in the town of Westport at 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The deputy attempted to make a traffic stop, but the driver didn’t stop.

The sheriff’s department terminated the pursuit as the vehicle approached Middleton because the truck was approaching a more populated area with more traffic, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department Elise Schaffer said.

The city of Middleton police said the pursuit was canceled near the intersection of Century Avenue and Branch Street.

Moments later, the suspect vehicle hit and injured two girls on Century Avenue at the intersection with Frank Lloyd Wright Avenue in Middleton.

A special task force made up of various police departments not including the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and Middleton Police is investigating the incident, and met Friday morning to decide what next steps to take in the investigation.

“Anytime, as you know, if there is an officer-involved shooting, a protocol goes into effect where there is a third party that has to do that investigation,” Foulke said. “What many people don’t know is that if there is any critical incident involving a police officer that results in death or great bodily harm, a third party needs to investigate that, also.”

Middleton police said after the truck struck the girls, the driver continued driving west on Century Avenue, causing additional crashes, until the truck became disabled in the 7300 block. Police and deputies took the driver into custody there. The sheriff’s office said the driver of the truck was also treated by EMS at the scene.

Another driver struck by the white truck was treated for minor injuries Thursday, Foulke said.

Police said Cotter-Brown previously lived in Middleton.