Police: Driver going 100 mph in crash with Wisconsin senator
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman who was killed alongside her daughter in a car crash involving the Wisconsin state Senate’s minority leader was driving at 100 mph (161 kph) seconds before the collision, according to police documents made public Thursday.
Among the documents is an inspection of the vehicle driven by Alyssa Ortman, 27, who was killed along with her 5-year-old daughter, Khaleesi Fink, in the July 22 crash. Details of the vehicle inspections were first reported by the Ashland Daily Press. Other documents show that state troopers reported finding a vape pen in Ortman’s car that was believed to contain Delta8, a compound similar to marijuana. Results of a drug screen are still pending.
Democratic Sen. Janet Bewley, 70, had just pulled out onto a highway into the path of Ortman's car, when the two vehicles collided. Ortman's car then spun across the median of a highway and into the path of another vehicle.
Police have previously reported that Bewley was distracted by a hands-free mobile phone at the time of the crash. And in an interview with police, Bewley said she had had cataract surgery on one eye the day before the crash but that her eyesight was fine. Ashland County District Attorney David Meany said Thursday that his office hasn't made a decision on whether to file any charges.
Bewley's office issued a statement Thursday that didn't address the speed finding, but instead thanked law enforcement and first responders.
"This has been a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be focused on the individuals involved, their families and their loved ones," it said.
Ortman's mother did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Thursday afternoon.
Earlier this month, the father of Khaleesi Fink, Brandon Fink, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Bewley. He also alleged that Ortman and the driver of the third vehicle acted negligently. His attorneys declined to comment after the police inspection report became public.
Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Harm on Twitter.