UPDATE: Fractured sternum punctured heart in Rhinelander New Year's bar deathSubmitted: 01/08/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter


We learned Wednesday how a Rhinelander man died in a New Year's bar fight.

EMTs got 48-year-old James Tanner into an ambulance after the fight in the early morning.

But he died there, outside Sackett's Bar.

Police said today Tanner's sternum broke, and a piece of the bone punctured his heart.

Rhinelander Police Chief Mike Steffes described last week how the fight started.

Tanner punched 62-year-old John Klucarich in the face shortly after midnight.

59-year-old Gregory Dryden tried to stop the fight by grabbing ahold of Tanner.

Tanner's chest hit against the bar, and then the two men fell to the ground.

EMTs tried to revive Tanner, but couldn't.

Klucarich was treated for head injuries at the hospital.

The Oneida County District Attorney will decide whether to file any criminal charges.


We know more now about a bar fight on New Year's eve in downtown Rhinelander.

48 year-old James R. Tanner, and 62 year-old John Klucarich were both inside Sackett's bar.

During a press conference Thursday, Chief Mike Steffes said Tanner punched Klucarich in the face shortly after midnight.

"That punch did land, striking [Klucarich] in the face. That dropped Mr. Klucarich backward and onto the ground. While falling to the ground, he did sustain injuries to his head," Steffes said.

Police say 59 year-old Gregory Dryden tried to stop the fight between Tanner and Klucarich. Dryden was the DJ for karaoke that night.

"[Dryden] took a hold of Mr. Tanner and drove him into the bar area. Once they hit the bar area, there were some glasses and beer bottles on the bar area, those fell off, hitting the ground and smashing on the ground. He then took and directed Mr. Tanner to the ground," Steffes said.

Steffes said EMT's tried to save Tanner at the bar and get him to the hospital, but he died in the ambulance outside the bar.

Klucarich was treated for head injuries and released from an area hospital.

Chief Steffes says he drove by the bar the night of the incident when he saw police at the scene.

A medical examiner performed an autopsy on Tanner Thursday. They have not released a cause of death.

No charges have been filed.

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