RICE LAKE — A Rice Lake man who authorities say crashed into an Amish buggy, killing a teen, while driving drunk has pleaded not guilty to two felony charges.
Anthony R. Anderson, 40, entered the plea Wednesday in Barron County Court for felony counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and causing injury by operating while intoxicated.
A three-day jury trial, starting Jan. 26, was set for Anderson.
According to the criminal complaint:
Barron County sheriff’s deputies were sent to a vehicle and Amish buggy crash at 6:42 p.m. Feb. 18 on Highway M, just south of 30th Avenue, in the Barron County town of Oak Grove.
The first deputy arrived to find the buggy on the east side of the road and ditch with a lot of debris in the road. A large horse, which was deceased, was on the east side of the roadway.
In the west ditch, the deputy found a blinking strobe light that was still flashing. Two kerosene-powered lanterns were also found in the ditch.
Authorities found a 17-year-old male, who was unconscious, in the middle of the road. He was ejected from the buggy. The teen was flown by helicopter to Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, where he died from his injuries on Feb. 24.
A 16-year-old male, who was also riding in the buggy, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to an area hospital.
The younger teen told authorities they were heading home and that both the blinking strobe light and kerosene lanterns were working.
Deputies interviewed bartenders from an area tavern who stated that Anderson was drinking alcoholic beverages there in the two hours before the crash.
Anderson’s blood alcohol level was 0.085, according to tests of a sample drawn after the crash. That’s just above the legal limit to drive in Wisconsin.
A re-creation of conditions leading up to the crash showed deputies that a flashing strobe light, kerosene lanterns and reflective tape on the buggy would all be visible to a driver from a far distance on the stretch of Highway M where the crash occurred.
This is the second case against Anderson for drunken driving. He was convicted of first-offense drunken driving in 2019 in Barron County and paid an $888 fine for that, according to Wisconsin’s online court system.
If convicted of both charges, Anderson could be sentenced to up to 28 years in prison.