Western Wisconsin Roundup: Prosecutors still trying to decide how to charge the 14-year-old driver from last week's accident near MenomonieArea News
-- Prosecutors are still trying to decide how to charge a 14-year-old boy, after he allegedly stole a van in Durand last Tuesday and got into a head-on crash near Menomonie.
Prosecutors are still trying to decide how to charge a 14-year-old boy, after he allegedly stole a van in Durand last Tuesday and got into a head-on crash near Menomonie. Dunn County sheriff’s investigators said the crash was most likely caused by inattentive driving. Officials said the teen had just taken the wheel from one of the other four people in the van a quarter-mile before the crash. And he may have been setting the cruise control when the van crossed a center line on Highway 25 and slammed into an oncoming S-U-V. Authorities said the S-U-V driver and all five people in the van were taken to hospitals, and they’re all expected to survive. Officials said the 14-year-old stole the van from an Illinois man he knew in Durand. Nobody in the van had valid driver’s licenses, including two adults. The Dunn County D-A’s office says it’s not certain whether the case will go to juvenile or adult court – or whether the teen will be charged in Dunn County where the crash occurred, or in Pepin County where the van was stolen.
The State Patrol reminds drivers to move away from emergency vehicles that are stopped along the roads. That’s after a semi-truck driver came within inches of hitting a car that was stopped along Interstate-94 near Eau Claire – and a trooper’s dashboard camera captured the near-miss on video. It showed the trooper on the right side of the vehicle, talking with a driver he stopped, when the semi whizzed by at full speed and almost sideswiped the auto. Had the trooper stood on the driver’s side, officials said he would have been struck by the semi, and possibly killed. The trucker was later ticketed, and he admitted being tired at the time. Wisconsin’s “Move Over Law” was adopted a few years ago, after a series of freeway crashes in Milwaukee County in which sheriff’s deputies were struck-and-killed. The law requires drivers to move over one lane to give emergency personnel more room – or to slow down if a move is not possible. Last year, the State Patrol said 10 of its vehicles were struck while they were stopped. Eight officers were injured. So far in 2012, officials say six squads have been hit with no troopers hurt.