A 44-year-old Rice Lake man faces up to more than four years behind bars and/or fines of more than $20,000 in connection with the alleged beating of his live-in girlfriend, according to a complaint filed Monday, June 10, 2019, in Barron County Circuit Court.

The defendant is identified as John E. Busick, 608 W. Douglas St., Rice Lake.

The investigation began the evening of June 9 when a Rice Lake police officer stopped a car in the parking lot of Stump Lake Liquor.

The officer said he stopped the vehicle after watching it swerve within its lane and cross the centerline. The officer found the driver, a woman from Rice Lake, with her face covered with blood. She had visible cuts on one eyebrow and her nose. Blood had pooled inside the left eyeball, and there were blood droplets throughout the front seat of the vehicle. She was crying hysterically.

The woman was brought to the Rice Lake Police Department, where officers photographed injuries to the woman’s face, bald spots on the back of her head where her hair had evidently been pulled out, and bruises to her hips, legs, back and forearms.

The woman told police she and the defendant had been in a relationship “for years,” and that she “was pretty much still living” at his home, but that they started having problems about 18 months ago, so she got her own apartment in Mikana.

The previous evening, June 8, the two had argued about some money the defendant said was owed to him by two of the women’s sons. She said the defendant assaulted her during the argument. The assault was renewed June 9, when the victim said the defendant got drunk, ordered her to drive him to a restaurant for food, and struck her as she drove them in her car. He then ordered her to drive back home and “clean herself up.”

As the defendant got out of the vehicle, she put the car in gear and drove off. Minutes later, she was stopped by the officer.

The defendant made an initial appearance June 10 and was freed on $2,500 signature bond pending a June 14 preliminary hearing, court records said.