DARLINGTON - An Iowa man who killed an 87-year-old Mineral Point woman in a vehicle collision in 2015 pleaded guilty in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Thursday to a charge of homicide by vehicle.
Chad Michael Ernzen, 39, Durango, Iowa, pleaded guilty to a Class D felony count of homicide by vehicle while using controlled substances as part of a plea agreement. Charges of second-degree reckless homicide and felony bail jumping were dismissed under the agreement.
Ernzen was charged after an incident Dec. 14, 2015, when he was reportedly driving eastbound in the westbound lane of Wisconsin 81 in the Town of Seymour. Ernzen was unable to veer away from an oncoming vehicle and the two vehicles collided head-on.
The other driver, Rosette V. King, was critically injured and was declared dead an hour later. Ernzen sustained severe injuries and was transported to University of Wisconsin Hospital by Med Flight.
Tests of Ernzen’s blood revealed methamphetamines and amphetamines in his system.
Ernzen’s attorney, Guy Taylor, said he had reached an agreement with Lafayette County District Attorney Jenna Gill that includes a joint recommendation of an eight-year prison sentence followed by four years of extended supervision.
Although Taylor requested that the court waive the customary pre-sentencing investigation, Lafayette County Circuit Judge Duane Jorgenson said such investigations will remain the practice of the court and are especially prudent in cases with such severe offenses.
The results of the investigation will be determined on Aug. 1. Ernzen’s maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison.