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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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Wisconsin man gets 20 years for fatal, disabling crash

The 20-year sentence a Wisconsin man recent received exceeded the term recommended by prosecutors. The Sawyer County judge said the only reason prison time was less than the maximum sentence was because the 29--year-old defendant pleaded guilty.

The Stanberry man admitted that he caused a fatal motorcycle crash last summer in Spider Lake. An Ironwood woman was the passenger on a motorcycle operated by her boyfriend. The woman and her companion were ejected during a collision with a truck. She died. The 35-year-old boyfriend suffered permanent disability.

Witnesses said the defendant abandoned his truck on Hwy. 77 at the intersection where the driver had pulled into the motorcycle's path. Before he fled on foot, the defendant implored a stopped driver to call 911. Two male passengers in the truck also fled.

As the emergency was being reported, a Jeep smashed into the truck left on the highway.

The truck driver was taken into custody four days after the crash. The man convicted of felony hit-and-run will spend 10 years in prison and the following decade under supervision. A restitution payment of over $216,000 was ordered along with multiple court conditions including mandatory counseling, sobriety, employment and education.

The convicted man had 13 earlier convictions on crimes ranging from theft and drug possession to property damage and DUI. The Stanberry man served several stints of imprisonment and supervision.

The single mother who died was a nurse with an 11-year-old daughter. The motorcycle operator who lived suffered a shoulder disability and the loss of a leg. The accident victim's medical expenses exceeded $250,000.

The restitution ordered by the court could be supplemented by damages awarded through personal injury lawsuits. The defendant could also face a wrongful death claim for the nurse's death. In each case, a jury would decide whether the defendant was negligent before deciding what compensation the victim or family members would receive for their suffering.

Source: haywardwi.com, "EXPANDED STORY: Man gets 20-year sentence for fatal hit-and-run crash," Terrell Boettcher, April 10, 2013

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