RHINELANDER — A 53-year-old Sugar Camp man has waived his right to a preliminary hearing on felony charges of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and hit-and-run resulting in death.

Jeffrey M. Liebscher appeared Wednesday, Oct. 30, before Judge Patrick O’Melia in Oneida County Circuit Court. The judge found probable cause for the charges and set a Nov. 11 arraignment date. 

Judge O’Melia also denied a bond modification request by Liebscher’s attorney, Gary Cirilli, to allow the defendant to attend an upcoming fundraiser at which beer would be served.

Liebscher is accused of hitting and killing 23-year-old Sean J. Holtslander, who was on his motorcycle on Highway 17 North in the town of Sugar Camp at approximately 10:15 p.m. Aug. 28. The accident occurred while Liebscher was turning into his driveway, according to the criminal complaint. 

The felony charges carry a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison upon conviction.

After the accident, Liebscher allegedly then got into his pickup truck and fled the scene and didn’t contact authorities until the next morning, according to the criminal complaint. A 911 call at 10:23 p.m. reported a motorcycle in the middle of the roadway and the operator not breathing.

Not just a victim

Sean’s mother, Dorothy Holtslander of Eagle River, was at the hearing and says she wants people to know that her son, killed six days after his birthday, was not just a motorcyclist or a statistic. She urged people to go on the “Justice for Sean Holtslander” Facebook page to learn more.

“I want them to see stories about him, pictures of him, because so far, for so long, he was just a motorcyclist or the victim. No, he was not. He was a brilliant young man. He just wrote a novel that I’m still trying to transcribe for him because he wrote it in longhand. And it’s wonderful. He was an accomplished musician. He was an artist. And if you had friend in Sean, you had a friend for life. He would do anything for anybody at any time.

“Sean was going to ask his girlfriend to marry him the next week. That’s not going to happen. He was looking forward to having children. That’s not going to happen.”

She said her son had moved to Eagle River last February to stay with his mother and was looking forward to viewing the fall colors. After the funeral, she went up in an airplane and scattered his ashes over the landscape, still brilliant with fall colors.

“Right after we put the ashes out, telling the Lord we were giving him to Him, the first thing I saw when I looked down was a heart-shaped lake surrounded by gold trees. And it was like God saying, “I got him.”

She had harsh words for the first judge assigned to the case. Judge Michael Bloom acknowledged he knew the defendant and called him a “good man” and wished him “good luck” before setting a cash bond of $1,500 on the charges. She said Judge Bloom should have recused himself before setting the bond.

“A ‘good man’ doesn’t leave a 23-year-old man to die, lie in his own blood dying . . . look down at him, get in his truck and drive off and hide.”

She said her son was an organ donor, but they could not be harvested due to the time elapsed. She said he also was considering becoming a volunteer firefighter.

Related case

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Liebscher’s brother, Brian LiebĀ­scher, 54, of Sugar Camp, was later arrested and charged with resisting or obstructing an officer for allegedly providing false information about his brother and the accident. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

When contacted during the early morning hours of Aug. 29, officers said that Brian Liebscher did not report to law enforcement that Jeffrey Liebscher had contacted him after the accident and that Brian LiebĀ­scher allegedly had driven his brother to Three Lakes after the accident. Jeffrey Liebscher eventually turned himself in to law enforcement. 

Brian Liebscher has a pretrial conference set for Dec. 10 before Judge O’Melia.