Meth Deemed Possible Cause of Fatal October Crash
By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — A 31-year-old resident faces two counts of homicide by a vehicle after causing the deaths of two others in a fatal crash in Dexter last year.
On Oct. 25, an accident involving two vehicles reported on State Highway 80 caused the deaths of 71-year-old Barbara Baldwin, and 74-year-old Louise Hemingway, of New Lisbon. According to reports, a 1998 Jeep Cherokee, driven by then 30-year-old Gregory Kopelke, had been driving north on 80 and failed to negotiate the curve, crossed the centerline, and hit the driver and passengers of the other vehicle in a 2009 Pontiac Vibe head on.
According to the Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit, Kopelke failed to stay in his lane through the portion of the highway that curved from left to right. A second passenger was injured from the crash and included fractures of the sternum, clavicle, elbows, a collapsed lung, as well as a fracture of the spine.
Kopelke was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield where a blood test revealed he had 230 ug/L of methamphetamine in his system. At the time, Kopelke had been driving illegally, as his privileges had been revoked due to prior convictions.
Kopelke faces two counts of homicide by a vehicle while under a controlled substance, injury by vehicle while under a controlled substance, two counts of knowingly operating a vehicle while revoked which led to death, and great bodily harm.
If convicted, he faces up to 78 years imprisonment, and up to $250,000 in fines. His initial court appearance is slated for June 15.