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Charge filed in 2016 St. Croix county motorcycle death

The driver in a 2016 motorcycle crash that left a Prescott mom dead was charged this week with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

St. Croix County prosecutors filed the charge Monday, July 3, against Joshua D. Sykora, a 35-year-old Hastings resident.

Authorities said the June 25, 2016, crash in the town of Troy killed Sykora's then-girlfriend, 38-year-old Brooke A. Ptacek-Baker, a Hastings business owner and mother of two children.

St. Croix County sheriff's deputies responded to the crash at 4:02 a.m. on County Road F near Riverview Drive after a deputy on patrol found Sykora lying in the median.

According to a criminal complaint, deputies asked Sykora when he'd last seen Ptacek-Baker. The charging document states he told them he had dropped her off at her car in Hudson before the crash.

Ptacek-Baker was found shortly after in a nearby ditch along with the 2005 Harley-Davidson authorities said Sykora was driving. An autopsy report concluded she died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash, the complaint states.

Sykora told authorities he was headed to Ptacek-Baker's home in Prescott when he encountered a deer in the road, braked and crashed.

Investigators suspected Sykora was southbound on County Road F when the motorcycle left the roadway, entered a ditch and overturned. Neither rider was wearing a helmet, authorities said.

Sykora submitted to a blood test that revealed a 0.07 blood-alcohol level, according to Wisconsin State Laboratory results included in the complaint.

According to the complaint, a witness told a St. Croix County sheriff's investigator that she and her boyfriend had been out drinking with Sykora and Ptacek-Baker earlier that night in downtown Hudson. An inventory of Sykora's possessions included a receipt issued at 1:51 a.m. June 25 from the Smilin' Moose bar in downtown Hudson, the complaint states.

Minnesota court records show Sykora was convicted of three traffic offenses between 2012 and 2014. A careless driving charge was dismissed as part of a 2008 plea agreement in a Goodhue County case alleging Sykora drove 101 mph in a 65 mph zone. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor speeding in that case.

Sykora's initial court appearance in Wisconsin is set for Aug. 17.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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