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Bear makes first court appearance on homicide charge

Victoria Bear made her first appearance in St. Croix County criminal court on Thursday to face a charge of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle. Bear, 56, is accused of causing the death of Hudson man Michael Strauch.

Strauch, 55, was killed after his motorcycle struck Bear's vehicle on Coulee Road, after she allegedly pulled out in front of him from 18th Street around 6 p.m. on Sept. 23.

Judge Eric Lundell asked Bear, who was in court with her attorney, James Johnson of Hudson and her ex-husband, Peter Bear, formerly of Hudson, if she understood the charges against her and the possibly penalties the accompany it. Bear said she did.

The next step in the case is a preliminary hearing in which the district attorney's office will make their case for proceeding to trial. Lundell set that hearing date for March 12 at 9 a.m.

Bear was released on a $10,000 signature bond with the conditions that she maintain absolute sobriety and that she does not drive. Bear told Lundell that she no longer lives in Hudson and gave a new address in St. Paul.

Michael Strauch's widow, Barbara, and his children, Janna Niedemeyer and Timothy Strauch were in the courtroom along with other family members and friends.

The charge against Bear carries a penalty of 10 years in jail and/or a $25,000 fine.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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