Prosecutors in Wood County, Wisconsin, are preparing a criminal case against the driver of a pickup truck who allegedly was intoxicated when his vehicle slammed into a horse-drawn wagon, killing the driver and severely injuring one of the wagon driver’s six children. The arrested person is Seth Nelson, 31, of Necedah. He was jailed on a preliminary charge of suspicion of homicide by drunken driving.
A Go Fund Me page started with the family’s permission has raised more than $4,000 thus far for the man’s loving widow and children, members of the Amish community in central Wisconsin in the greater Wisconsin Rapids area. The website said the deceased and his 10-year-old son were removing corn from a field near their home. They were preparing for the opening day of deer hunting season on Friday, November 20, when their vehicle was struck from behind on County Road HH near Vesper, Wisconsin. A life-rescue helicopter flew both victims to Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, where he died the following day. His son remained under care with life-threatening injuries.
Wood County Circuit Judge Greg Potter set a $5,000 cash bond for Nelson during a court appearance last week. The prosecutor is Wood County Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell. According to court documents reviewed by Wisconsin Rapids Tribune, the alleged drunken driver submitted to a breath test on the night of the crash that showed a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.114 percent – clearly above the legal limit of 0.80.
The fund-raising page said Crist was a deeply religious, talented wood worker who farmed in the evenings and was “always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.” He loved fishing and hunting and “always had a smile on his face and was always willing to work until the job was done.”
Drunk Driving Wrongful Death
According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunken driving in the nation. More than 26 percent of Wisconsin adults surveyed by the U.S. government admitted that they had driven under the influence of alcohol in the previous year. And the state registers more than 200 road deaths a year that are alcohol related. In 2012, 36 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in Wisconsin in 2012 were alcohol-related. The state recently strengthened its impaired driving laws to include mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices on all vehicles owned by anyone convicted of first offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) with an alcohol content of 0.15 or higher as well as second or subsequent offense OWI.
Also under Wisconsin law, families can sue a drunk driver for wrongful death due to negligence and reckless disregard for the lives of others. Our law firm has recovered millions of dollars for families devastated by drunk drivers. And by filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver, you are another voice saying, “Drunk driving is never okay. Choose not to drink and drive.”
Every traffic accident case we handle begins with an independent investigation of the crash, which always involves finding out the circumstances of the driver’s drinking before the accident. There are several obvious reasons for this, but one of the most important reasons is that a bar or restaurant can be sued in some cases for the injuries (or death) caused by a drunk driver. These are called “dram shop” cases.