Loading

61°F

56°F

61°F

59°F

59°F

57°F

61°F

62°F

59°F

60°F

62°F

61°F
Search
NEWS STORIES

Accused driver had received license only weeks before deadly crash, case moves forwardSubmitted: 07/31/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


CRANDON - The case against an 18-year-old Laona man will go ahead after a Forest County judge found enough evidence to move forward Wednesday.

Austin Ginter, 18, faces reckless homicide charges in Forest County after a car crash killed 15-year-old Chance Harcus. Another 16-year-old girl was also injured in the July 13th car crash on Old 8 Road west of Crandon.

New information from a preliminary hearing Wednesday shows that Ginter only had his driver's license for two weeks before the crash.

Wisconsin State Patrolman Justin Bender testified for the prosecution. He was the officer that reconstructed the car crash. He says the car was going at least 114 miles per hour when the driver lost control, but could have been going as fast as 126 miles per hour.

The Special Prosecutor Jodie Bednar-Clemens argued that Ginter was driving the car without thinking of the passengers' safety.

"Clearly, when you are going 120 miles an hour, on a 35 mph road, which is extremely hilly, you're traveling over the center line, you've got somebody in the vehicle who is begging you to slow down and refusing to do it, I think that is criminal recklessness," Bednar-Clemens said.

The criminal complaint shows that the 16-year-old surviving passenger told an officer she had her eyes closed and didn't want to be there before the crash. It also said that she had told Ginter to slow down earlier in the car trip, which he did in that instance.

But the 16-year-old testified for the defense in court, and testified she never said a word to Ginter about speed or anything.

"I never begged, I never said a word (to Ginter) until I felt the car swerve," the girl said in testimony.

Brian Bennett, Ginter's defense attorney, argued that was enough to stop the case.

"That witness has been subpoenaed, she is out in the hall today and she will testify that, what the state just said is not in fact the case," Bennett said.

The surviving passenger also said the car felt like it was going 60 mph before the crash, even though her eyes were closed, but the re-creation expert from the state patrol put the speed at 114-126 mph.

The criminal complaint had also showed that the 16-year-old girl had told an officer her eyes were closed before the crash because she was nauseous.

The prosecution attributes that sickness to the extremely high speed they believe Ginter was driving, but the girl testified that was out of context.

She said she always gets nauseous while riding in cars, so she frequently closes her eyes to deal with the sickness. That became an issue with Judge Leon Stenz.

According to testimony, the car that was crashed was under the girl's father's name, but she said she was making payments for it. Stenz asked if she had the same type of nausea while she was driving. She said it did happen, but she could control it, and if she couldn't she would pull over to the side of the road.

There had also been testimony from the 16-year-old girl that Ginter was her best friend, and that he had recently moved into her family's home.

After more than an hour in court, Judge Stenz decided there was enough evidence for the case to go ahead. Ginter could spend 60 years in prison if convicted of the charges. He'll be back in court in August.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

+ Read More

EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

+ Read More

MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.


+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

+ Read More

WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR wants to know if it has the right plans for beavers in the state. The final public feedback period is open for the new beaver management plan.

The document will guide decisions on beavers through 2025. The final draft touches on topics like population, habitat, and damage management. The current draft recommends keeping beaver populations mostly stable in the state.

Public input for the final beaver management plan is open through June 22. The DNR will also host a public meeting on June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Service Center in Rhinelander to take comments.

You can read the final draft of the plan by clicking the link below. Another link shows opportunities for feedback.

+ Read More

MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here