No Charges For Wisconsin Senator Janet Bewley For Her Involvement In Double-Fatal Car Crash
There will be no charges coming for the Wisconsin State Senator that was involved in a double-fatal car crash near Ashland this past summer. That's the decision of Ashland County District Attorney over whether or not to pursue charges against former State Senator Janet Bewley for her role in the incident that occured on U.S. Highway 2 this past July.
The accident took the lives of 27-year old Alyssa Ortman and her 5-year old daughter Khaleesi Fink.
A wrongful death lawsuit had been brought against Bewley, another woman involved in the crash, and three seperate insurance companies by the Khaleesi's father Brandon Fink. That lawsuit was initiated after initial reports detailed that Bewley was speaking to a reporter, conducting a phone interview while driving her vehicle as she pulled out onto Highway 2. Further reports also detailed that Bewley had received cataract eye surgery the day before the July 22 accident.
However, as the accident was researched by the authorities, it was learned that Ortman - the deceased driver of the vehicle with her 5-year old daughter - was speeding at the time of the accident and also had "detectable amount[s] of Delta 9 THC in her blood" and was in possession of a vape pen that contained the same.
"Electronic data from the Honda Civic Ortman was driving indicated it was traveling at 94 mph and the speed increased to 100 mph a second and a half before the collision. The brakes were not activated until one second before the collision."
Fink's wrongful death lawsuit against the former Democratic State Senator is still ongoing. District Attorney David Meany has made it clear that the determination not to seek charges against Bewley isn't a statement on the separate lawsuit. Meany offered that "his decision does not address the issue of whether any party involved in the accident is liable to another party in a civil action".
Instead, the District Attorney offered his conclusion based solely on whether or not criminal charges should be sought after the former Senator. His conclusion states in part:
"Based on all the evidence submitted by law enforcement agencies regarding the accident, I have concluded that there is not a sufficient basis to believe that the state could meet its burden of establishing all the elements of a violation of a Wisconsin criminal statute beyond a reasonable doubt against a potential defendant."
That ruling - and the timing - has come under criticism by Fink. Fink has been vocal on social media that the timing of the ruling - after her State Senator term was up - was a "pretty big coincidence". He also stated that it's a "[p]retty convenient she got to ride out her term with no pressure to resign or anything at all".
Fink's wrongful death lawsuit against Bewley, he other driver involved, and the three insurance companies s ongoing, however no court date has been set.