01/23/2008

Wis. deputy charged in fatal crash

The Madison Capital Times

MADISON, Wis. — A sheriff's deputy who drove through a red light with his emergency lights and sirens on has been charged with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle after he hit another car, killing a woman.

Portage County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Tschudy, 53, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison after an investigation concluded he failed to slow down before speeding into an intersection Oct. 29.

He struck the vehicle of 18-year-old Mindy Erickson, who was killed.

Tschudy had been responding to a hit-and-run accident in Plover when he drove through a red light with his emergency lights and sirens activated.

Crash reconstructionist Thomas Parrott of the State Patrol noted that his speed was one of the contributing factors in the crash. He estimates Tschudy was driving at around 52 miles per hour.

Tschudy attempted to brake before striking Erickson's car, but obstructions prevented the drivers from seeing each other until about 1.5 seconds before impact, Parrott noted.

"I had no doubt (visual obstructions) played into the deputy's decision to continue through the red light," Parrott said Monday.

Tschudy's initial court appearance was scheduled for Feb. 19.

Lincoln County District Attorney Donald Dunphy has been appointed special prosecutor in the case.

Copyright 2008 The Capital Times

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