An outdoor festival, a few glasses of beer and the keys to a car were volatile ingredients that led to a fatal car accident in Sheboygan last August. The driver, held responsible for fleeing from an auto accident that killed one pedestrian and hurt two others, is a teenager who will spend six years in prison and nine additional years under court supervision.
The 19-year-old accepted a plea deal to reduce earlier hit-and-run injury and death charges that might have imprisoned her for up to 90 years. Instead, the Sheboygan driver pleaded no contest to three felonies for homicide and injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
The fatal accident occurred on a late evening during the 2011 celebration of Brat Days. The defendant told police she drank three beers before attending the festival. The accident took place as the driver was leaving the event.
The defendant claims she never saw the women in the 17th and Niagara Street crosswalk before she struck them. All three pedestrians were injured including a Sheboygan mother, her daughter and the teenager's girlfriend. The younger women, both 19, suffered slight injuries. The teen's 60-year-old mother was hospitalized and died two days after the accident.
The drunk-driving suspect did not stop to help the victims. Witnesses told authorities they noticed a vehicle with the headlights turned off moving along 17th Street after the crash.
The teen admitted she panicked and parked her car a few blocks from the scene. The driver ran to her 14th Street home, where Sheboygan officers later found and arrested her.
The convicted drunk driver will be imprisoned for six years, minus credit for more than 240 days she has already served. The teen will be a woman in her 30s before the obligations of court supervision are met.
Under the probation terms, the woman may not buy or use alcohol or any non-prescribed controlled substances. She must pay restitution, perform 120 hours of community service and talk with high school students about the dangers and consequences of alcohol and drug abuse.
Source: postcrescent.com, "Sheboygan woman sentenced to six years in prison in Brat Days drunken driving crash that killed woman," Dan Benson, April 10, 2012