Most Wisconsin residents already know about the inherent dangers of drinking and driving. No shortage of media stories warning drivers of the possibility that an alcohol-related accident could lead to serious injury or death. An Eau Claire man might have learned this lesson a bit too late.
The Wisconsin State Patrol was in pursuit of a reckless driver who was driving at speeds over 70 mph. The driver eluded police during a 3.5-mile chase until the driver crossed the center median into oncoming traffic. The driver's car collided with another vehicle head-on. Troopers had to act quickly to put out the fire caused by the crash.
The victim, a 34-year-old man, was the driver of the other vehicle. He died at the scene from the injuries sustained he suffered in the crash. The alleged drunk driver and his 37-year-old passenger needed to be pried from the wreckage before they could be transported by helicopter to a hospital to be treated for their injuries. The driver confessed to medical personnel that he had too much to drink to be driving. The driver was charged with a myriad of charges including DUI-related vehicular homicide and DUI-related injury.
The supposed drunk driver claims to have no memory of the chase or the head-on collision and even denied being the driver at the time of the incident. It will be up to Wisconsin courts to determine this man's fate relative to the criminal charges. The family of the deceased driver retains the right to file a wrongful death claim against the driver on top of the criminal charges he currently faces. The passenger, the other victim in this alcohol-related accident, could file a personal injury claim as well. If the claims are successful, the parties may be awarded damages recoverable under state law.
Source: lacrossetribune.com, Driver charged in fatal Sparta crash, Anne Jungen, Feb. 14, 2014