The use of alcohol is suspected in two southern Wisconsin traffic accidents. Three people, including two teenagers, died during the same weekend in separate fatal car accidents in Rock County's Janesville Township.
The auto accidents were hours apart. The first crash occurred just before 10:30 p.m. on Highway 11. Sheriff's deputies have charged a 39-year-old woman with a drunk driving death and three counts of causing injury while driving intoxicated.
Accident reports say the woman's vehicle blew through a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle, killing a 64-year-old passenger. Crash survivors included the drunk-driving defendant and the 64-year-old male driver and two additional woman passengers, ages 56 and 57, from the second vehicle.
Rescue units reported the Janesville driver's car was on fire when crews arrived at the accident scene. The woman accused of homicide was airlifted to Madison's University of Wisconsin Hospital. The victims' medical conditions were not reported.
A vehicle with five occupants crashed early the following morning around 2 a.m. in another part of Janesville Township. The 19-year-old driver and his 18-year-old male, front-seat passenger died after being ejected in the rollover accident.
Rock County deputies believe the teen driver was speeding and impaired by alcohol when he lost control of the vehicle while trying to pass two other cars. The teens that lost their lives had not been restrained by seat belts.
Three back seat passengers fled before deputies arrived. Authorities later identified the passengers and transported them to area hospitals for treatment. None of the injuries were critical, according to sheriff's deputies.
A driver who chooses to drive while intoxicated is willfully negligent. In the first accident, the injured driver was charged with a serious crime. The teenage driver in the second crash might also have been charged with homicide, had he lived through the rollover crash.
Victims could be compensated for their losses through wrongful death and damages lawsuits filed against the surviving driver and the estate of the driver who died.
Source: beloitdailynews.com, "Crash leaves three dead," Aug. 20, 2012