Truck in fatal Portage Co. crash traveling 94 mph - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Truck in fatal Portage Co. crash traveling 94 mph


PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW) – A pickup truck was traveling 94 mph on a gravel road and being driven by a man who drank three pitchers of beer at a fireman's dance before the vehicle crashed and killed two young women, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

Tim Saavedra was charged with four felonies – two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and two counts of second-degree reckless homicide, the Portage County clerk of courts said. The maximum punishment for each charge is 25 years in prison.

The July 20 crash on a rural Portage County road killed Melissa Peterson-Suzda and Stephanie Eberhardt, both 21. A third passenger was injured.

The crash happened about 2:30 a.m. on a stretch of Gumz Road with a crest of a hill that could be jumped in a vehicle driven fast enough, the complaint said.

Saavedra, who called 911 to report the crash, told investigators he estimated his speed before he lost control at “like 70” mph, the complaint said. The truck hit several trees and rolled over.

Data retrieved from Saavedra's truck revealed it was traveling 94 mph five seconds before his airbag deployed, the complaint said.

I guarantee that I will end up being over the legal (blood-alcohol) limit,” Saavedra told the first investigator on the scene, the complaint said.

Saavedra said he drank three pitchers of beer, the equivalent of a 12-pack, at a street dance in Rudolph that ended at midnight, the complaint said. His friend who was injured told police the group went to a bar in Rudolph after the dance and then began "just driving around talking."

The criminal complaint said a preliminary breath test after the crash indicated Saavedra's blood-alcohol level was 0.148 percent, nearly double the legal limit to drive.

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