Man accused in multi-county crime spree charged with 22 counts

Crime spree suspect incompetent to stand trial
James Kruger

A man facing charges related to a multi-county crime spree last month is facing 22 counts in Iowa County.

James Kruger, 36, appeared in Iowa County court in Dodgeville on Tuesday. A status hearing was scheduled to Nov. 12. He’s charged with carrying a concealed weapon, theft, two counts of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent, two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, three counts of eluding an officer and 11 counts of bail jumping.

Kruger is accused of a multi-county crime spree in early September that ended in a high-speed chase that included a man he took hostage.

Kruger faces 16 charges in Grant County and a federal charge for a felon who had a firearm. His arraignment in Grant County is scheduled for Nov. 1.

In a preliminary hearing in Grant County on Sept. 25, Deputy Adam Day detailed the robbery, saying Kruger admitted to Day in a recording that he owed someone money and thought his uncle had $1 million.

When the alleged crimes and high-speed chase ended in a ditch off Highway 151 near Mount Horeb, Day transported Kruger to jail and noted his behavior.
“I wouldn’t call it wigged out or paranoid. I’d call it under the influence of crack cocaine. That’s what he told me he was under,” said Day.

Kruger’s defense attorney argued he never hurt the kidnapped farmer, who escaped when they stopped in Dodgeville.

Kruger’s mother, Barbara Nicholson, told News3 her son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 14. She said he was arrested Aug. 29 and held in the Dane County Jail.

Kruger called home, claiming his medication wasn’t working. She said he wasn’t given his medication at the jail. News3 hasn’t been able to independently confirm that.

Nicholson said he described feeling delusional when he was let out of jail.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told News 3 in a previous interview Kruger was in court Sept. 4 on a charge of eluding an officer, and an assistant district attorney only asked for a signature bond because they thought he would be held on a probation hold, but his probation ended in August.

Nicholson said he’d been without medication for five days and then “this horror happened.”