Wisconsin Deputy Cleared In 122 MPH Crash
A Marathon County (WI) deputy who crashed into the back of an SUV at 122 miles per hour last October was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
The Lincoln County district attorney assigned to investigate the case says the driver of the SUV who was seriously hurt was more at fault than the sheriff’s deputy.
WBAY reports that Deputy Michael Van Offeren was speeding down a two-lane state highway in Merrill with his accelerator to the floor to respond to an emergency call. Two dump trucks pulled off to the side of the road in response to the emergency lights and siren. The SUV pulled out from an intersection and was rear-ended by the squad car. The investigation found the deputy only had about 1.25 seconds to react.
The special prosecutor says the trucks and the crest of a hill made it difficult for the deputy and the driver of the SUV to see each other. But it was dark, and the D.A. says while that would have made it more difficult for the deputy to see, it “should have enhanced the ability of other drivers to see Van Offeren’s emergency lights.” The two dump trucks pulling to the side of the road also should have given the driver some indication.
According to a report by the Wausau Police Department, Deputy Offeren stated, “I just wish I hadn’t been going so fast” following the crash.