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Driver pleads guilty in fatal crash

The 20-year-old driver in a crash that claimed the life of a Roberts woman pleaded guilty last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

Appleton resident Cody D. Carlson admitted at a Jan. 18 hearing to being under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of a Nov. 8, 2015, crash that killed 61-year-old Bonny J. Britton. Carlson pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle while using a controlled substance, a charge that St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Eric Lundell said carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

A plea agreement called for two other charges — counts of injury by use of a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance — to be dropped, but the the judge reminded Carlson that he has ultimate discretion in handing down the sentence.

"I'm not bound by what the attorneys say," Lundell said in court.

Prosecutors said Carlson was behind the wheel at the time of the two-car crash, which also left Carlson's two passengers with serious injures. A blood test later revealed Carlson had meth in his system at the time of the crash on Highway 65 in Roberts, according to a criminal complaint.

A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin. 

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