CHIPPEWA FALLS — Relatives of two victims who died in a May 2017 crash have filed statements recommending leniency for the Eau Claire woman charged with four counts of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle.
Cara L. Stevens, 24, 1802 Ball St., will appear in court Monday for her arraignment.
Stevens had three passengers in her car: Raven Ellin, 21, Jonathan Jorgensen, 35, and Mikaila Toske, 23. All three died in the rural Chippewa County crash. A fourth person, 46-year-old Kristine Kummer — who was in another vehicle — also died.
The mother of one of the four people who died has filed a victim witness statement asking for leniency for Stevens.
“This has devastated my family,” wrote Karin Morrow, the mother of Jorgensen. “This is my oldest son, my oldest child, father of four.”
However, Morrow said the crash was an accident, not a felony act by Stevens.
“I think she should lose her license — that’s it, period,” Morrow wrote. “The (district attorney) is trying to make an example out of Cara. That is wrong — so very wrong.”
The court has received two other victim statements from families of the four deceased people.
One is from Ellin’s 14-year-old sister; because she is a minor, her name was redacted in court records. The girl asked that Stevens receive three weeks of jail time and be required to write a letter of apology. She also suggested Stevens be required to pay for funerals of the four who died and medical bills of the survivors. She asked that Stevens lose her driver’s license.
Ellin’s grandmother Maureen McIlligott also wrote that she doesn’t want Stevens to be allowed to drive anymore, saying that Stevens has a past inattentive driving case.
“Cara was negligent in the eyes of the law,” McIlligott wrote.
McIlligott wrote that she raised Ellin since she was 12 and was her legal guardian.
“Raven was my rock,” she wrote.
McIlligott said the district attorney should seek at least four years in prison.
Restitution has been determined to be $1,675, including fees, according to the victim witness office.
Stevens is charged with eight total counts: the four counts of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle, one count of reckless driving-causing great bodily harm, and three counts of causing bodily harm.
If Stevens enters a not guilty plea Monday, the case will move forward toward a trial. No trial dates have been set at this time.
According to the criminal complaint:
Stevens was northbound on Highway G in the town of Ruby in northeast Chippewa County when the crash occurred at 5:02 p.m. May 27, 2017.
Stevens’ Chrysler Pacifica crashed with a westbound Chevrolet Silverado at Highways G and 64, halfway between Cornell and Gilman. The 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.
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 had 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 a buggy and looked at it in her rearview 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.
The complaint doesn’t indicate any cellphone use by either driver at the time of the crash.