EAU CLAIRE — A Fall Creek woman has been charged in connection with a September two-vehicle crash on U.S. 12 between Fall Creek and Augusta that killed an Osseo man.
Nancy J. Haldeman, 64, 8201 Nine Mile Creek Road, is charged in Eau Claire County Court with a felony count of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. She was negligent because she caused the crash by passing another vehicle in heavy fog, authorities said.
Haldeman is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Feb. 3.
According to the criminal complaint and the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office:
Authorities were called to the crash scene in the town of Lincoln at 6:15 a.m. Sept. 10.
A 2008 silver Chevrolet Trailblazer driven by Haldeman was eastbound on U.S. 12 and attempted to pass a vehicle in the dark in heavy fog. During the attempt, Haldeman’s vehicle struck a 2003 maroon Chevrolet Suburban head on. The driver of the Suburban, Ricky A. Bahr, 49, died at the scene.
Haldeman was treated for her injuries at an area hospital. She had been in critical condition.
A witness told authorities she was behind Haldeman’s vehicle before the crash. The witness said Haldeman’s vehicle “peeked out from behind the vehicle in front of her to pass but came back into their lane.”
The witness said she noticed a vehicle traveling westbound on U.S. 12 that had a headlight out. All of a sudden, the witness said, Haldeman’s vehicle pulled out into the westbound lane to pass the vehicle in front of her and struck the oncoming vehicle head on.
A second witness said he was likely driving the vehicle Haldeman was trying to pass. He said he works with Haldeman in Augusta. The second witness said when he left Fall Creek he had a “death grip” on his steering wheel because it was so foggy.
The second witness said he noticed two vehicles catching up to him from behind. One vehicle attempted to pass him and then backed off.
The second witness said he then noticed an approaching westbound vehicle that appeared to have a missing headlight.
After the westbound vehicle passed by him, the second witness said he heard a pop. When he looked in his rearview mirror, the second witness said he did not see the vehicle that was following him, but noticed the westbound vehicle was now in his lane.
The second witness said shortly after he got to work, another vehicle drove into the parking lot and the driver told him about the crash and that Haldeman appeared to be involved.
The National Weather Service had issued a special alert that morning for patches of dense fog in east-central Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. The alert told motorists to “exercise caution if traveling and use low beam headlights.”
If convicted, Haldeman could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.