Justin Heim, 22, Prairie du Chien, was charged in Crawford County Circuit Court with homicide by negligent operation of vehicle and reckless driving causing injury for his part in an accident on Vineyard Road on Tuesday, June 5.
Heim was driving an older model pickup truck on Vineyard Road at 7:45 p.m. with two passengers, Cody Fiddler, 22, Prairie du Chien, and Lacy Kazda, 18, Boscobel, according to authorities. Fiddler was killed in the accident and Kazda was severely injured.
Lacy Kazda recalled Heim speeding up “really fast” at one point as they drove on Vineyard Road in Bridgeport Township. Kazda told investigating deputies that she thought the truck was traveling “like maybe 70,” when they went around a corner and Heim lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree.
Kazda stated that when Heim sped up, and they were approaching the corner, she and Fiddler were “yelling at him to slow down, but that he did not,” according to the criminal complaint.
Deputies arriving at the scene of the accident found Fiddler already deceased and Kazda severely injured. Kazda’s medical records received from Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse indicated her injuries included a closed sacral fracture, fractured vertebrae, a right femur fracture and a femoral neck fracture.
The speed limit, while not posted on Vineyard Road is by law 55 miles per hour, according to the criminal complaint. However, the complaint notes that Vineyard Road is “a winding town road with many curves, hills and rises which would dictate that a much slower speed be used to safely navigate such road conditions.” The complaint indicates the curve in the road where Heim’s truck went off the road “would have mandated a slower speed than 55 miles per hour to negotiate safely.”
Wisconsin State Trooper Arden Asp, an accident reconstruction expert, estimated the vehicle was traveling 63 to 66 miles per hour when the crash occurred.
If Heim is convicted of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, a felony, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If convicted of the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving causing injury, Heim faces from 30 days to one year in jail and a fine of $300 to $2,000.