MADISON - An alleged drunk driver who's accused of killing three people near Madison was released from the hospital last night, and was sent to jail.
The 31-year-old Madison man faces three possible charges of drunken homicide. The State Patrol has not sent its reports to prosecutors yet. Authorities have not released the victims' names. But the Minneapolis Star Tribune said two were members of the University of Minnesota's Spirit Squad - 23-year-old Wilfredo Ugarte of Puerto Rico and 19-year-old Marcus Johnson of Milwaukee. They were among five people heading from Minneapolis to Milwaukee on Interstate 39-90-94 when they stopped to change a flat tire just north of Madison early yesterday. The State Patrol said the alleged drunk driver veered out of his lane and hit the car, which was on the shoulder of the median. Two of the people killed were outside the vehicle. And a third person outside escaped injury by jumping over the median. A 20-year-old Milwaukee woman who was inside the stopped vehicle was killed. The other person inside was not hurt.
Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi called it a "senseless tragedy." The school said grief counselors were expected to meet last night with other members of the Gophers' Spirit Squad. Minnesota's football team plays Wisconsin tomorrow in Madison. And UW officials said the Badger spirit squad was considering how to respond to the tragedy. UW assistant athletic director Justin Doherty said there's a friendly, collegial, and competitive relationship among the spirit squads in the Big Ten.