Monday, September 24, 2018

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Woman charged in fatal crash near Cornell

CHIPPEWA FALLS – An Eau Claire woman was distracted while driving and didn’t attempt to stop her vehicle before entering an intersection, leading to a crash that killed four people in May 2017, a court complaint states.

Cara L. Stevens, 24, 2516 Seymour Road, was charged Friday in Chippewa County Court with four counts of homicide by negligent operation of vehicle, one count of recklessly endangering safety-causing great bodily harm, and three misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering safety-causing great harm. Stevens will appear in court Oct. 9 before Judge Steve Cray.

According to the criminal complaint:

Stevens was northbound on Highway G in the town of Ruby when the crash occurred at 5:02 p.m. May 27, 2017. 

Stevens’ Chrysler Pacifica crashed with a westbound Chevrolet Silverado at the intersection of Highway G and Highway 64, halfway between Cornell and Gilman. The Wisconsin State Patrol responded to the crash and handled the investigation.

“Ms. Stevens failed to stop for the stop sign,” the report states. The vehicles collided, entered the ditch, and began to roll.

Stevens had three passengers in her car: Raven Ellin, 21. Jonathan Jorgensen, 35, and Mikaila Toske, 23. All three passengers died in the crash.

A fourth person, 46-year-old Kristine Kummer – who was in the Chevrolet Silverado – also died from the crash.

The driver of the Silverado was David Kummer. Along with the death of Kristine Kummer, other passengers in the vehicle suffered serious injuries. Nicole Ronni suffered a compression fracture, a clavicle fracture, cracked ribs and a punctured lung. Cody Kummer suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery. Two others had minor injuries.

Stevens was taken to HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire. An officer interviewed her there, and Stevens said she and her friends were headed to a rural bar, but she hadn’t been there before. Stevens said she had passed an Amish buggy, and looked at it in her rear-view mirror. When she “looked up,” the Silverado was in front of her, and the vehicles collided.

Blood samples were taken from both Stevens and David Kummer. Kummer had no alcohol or restricted controlled substances in his system; Stevens had morphine and Midazolam in her system, but those were drugs administered to her at the hospital.

“Driver impairment does not appear to be a factor in this crash,” the report states.

After examining the scene, the officer determined that Stevens didn’t attempt to stop before the crash, noting the tire mark “does not appear until after entering the intersection.”

“While the exact reasons for Ms. Stevens’ inattention are not known, it is likely her attention was not focused to the approaching intersection and stop sign,” the criminal complaint concludes.


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