UPDATE: 18-year-old suspect arrested in Mt. Horeb beating - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: 18-year-old suspect arrested in Mt. Horeb beating

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Koalton Peterson, 18 Koalton Peterson, 18

MT. HOREB (WKOW) -- An argument that apparently started via text message escalated into an attempted homicide overnight.

As a result, an 18 year-old Mount Horeb man is in jail and a 20 year-old Fitchburg man is fighting for his life at UW Hospital.

Dane County Sheriff's investigators say Koalton Peterson beat Ryan Smith with a baseball bat around midnight on Oak Valley Road.

Peterson spent most of Tuesday night on that road at a friend's family duplex.

That's according to the friend's mother, who tells 27 News that Peterson was apparently having a fight with someone via text message.

After she and her son went to bed, they awoke after midnight to the sounds of squad cars and ambulances.

"When they arrived they found the victim lying in the road, severely injured," said Elise Schaffer, the Dane County Sheriff Public Information Officer.  "MedFlight responded and transported him to the hospital."

Having fled the scene, Peterson was nowhere to be found.  But police located him shortly thereafter and placed him under arrest.  He is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

"There's numerous factors that come into play, but, certainly the weapon involved and the seriousness of this man's injuries played a role in that," said Schaffer.

Koalton's friend told his mother that he doesn't know what Peterson and Smith were arguing about, but Sheriff's investigators are starting to piece that together.

"What they know at this point is that there was a dispute between these two men that in some way is related to drugs, but they can't specific at this time as to how much of a role that played," said Schaffer.

Ryan Smith's life now hangs in the balance, as does Koalton Peterson's legal fate.

"Now whether or not that charge will change down the road, that's yet to be seen and certainly if this victim does die, then again, the charge could change," said Schaffer.

27 News does not know much about the victim Ryan Smith, other than the fact that he works at Elysee Scientific Cosmetics in Verona.

A co-worker there called him a "great kid", saying further, "If I had a daughter, I'd want her to date Ryan."

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MT. HOREB (WKOW) -- Police say a young Fitchburg man is in serious condition after being beaten with a baseball bat. He was found lying in the road in Mt. Horeb.

Just after midnight Tuesday, Mt. Horeb police were called to Oak Valley Road. They found Ryan M. Smith, 20, lying in the road. He was transported to UW Hospital by Med Flight with serious injuries.

The suspect in the case is Koalton P. Peterson, 18, of Mt. Horeb. Police say Peterson fled the scene, but was found a short time later. He was taken into custody and booked into the Dane Count Jail on a tentative charge of Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.

Dane County Sheriff's detectives and Mt. Horeb Police detectives are investigating what led up to the assault.

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