Rudolph man sentenced to 7 years in prison after deadly drunken - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rudolph man sentenced to 7 years in prison after deadly drunken driving crash

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) - A 23-year-old man convicted of driving drunk in a crash that killed two young women and injured a man last summer was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday.

Tim Saavedra of Rudolph was convicted of two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and one count of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Five other charges, including two counts of second-degree reckless homicide, were dismissed in the plea deal.

In court, Saavedra apologized to the families saying he takes full responsibility for what happened.

"I'm culpable for the loss of two lives, serious injuries, and emotional harm that encompassed family members and friends. All of this is unintended, unfortunate, and completely avoidable, and rests solely on my shoulders," said Saavedra during sentencing.

The July 20 crash on a rural Portage County gravel road killed Melissa Peterson-Suzda and Stephanie Eberhardt, both 21, of Wisconsin Rapids.

Investigators said Saavedra's blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.113 percent. The legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent.

Portage County Circuit Judge Thomas Eagon ordered Tuesday that Saavedra serve five years on extended supervision after he is released from prison. He must also serve 200 hours of community service and pay $12,500 for the funeral expenses of Peterson-Suzda.  

Prosecutors recommended Saavedra be sentenced to 15 years in prison, describing him as an overall good guy who needed prison time because of the seriousness of the crime.

"He's a young individual, he will still have a life. He will get out, sounds like he'll be productive member of society. But there's two people that there lives ended and one person that was severely injured," said Portage County District Attorney Louis Molepske Jr.

Peterson-Suzda's mother agreed, saying she was unable to forgive Saavedra for what happened and that she misses her daughter every day.

Eberhardt's mother said she knew Saavedra would not intentionally hurt anyone, telling the judge that all the young people involved in the crash made bad decisions. She recommended community service, not prison, for Saavedra.

Saavedra drank three pitchers of beer, the equivalent of a 12-pack, at a fireman's dance before driving a pickup truck 94 mph on a road with a crest of a hill that could be jumped in a vehicle driven fast enough, the criminal complaint said.

The truck went out of control about 2:30 a.m., crashed into some trees and rolled over, the complaint said.

Saavedra had attended 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.



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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) - A 23-year-old man convicted of driving drunk in a crash that killed two young women last summer will find out his sentence today, according to Portage County Court records.

Under terms of a plea deal, a prosecutor says he will recommend that Tim Saavedra be sentenced to 15 years in prison and 15 years of supervised release, the records said.

Saavedra, of Rudolph, was convicted of two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and one count of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, court records said. Five other charges, including two counts of second-degree reckless homicide, were dismissed in the plea deal.

A prosecutor told the judge that Saavedra's blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.113 percent, online records said. The legal limit to drive is 0.08 percent

The July 20 crash on a rural Portage County gravel road killed Melissa Peterson-Suzda and Stephanie Eberhardt, both 21, of Wisconsin Rapids. Peterson-Suzda was married and had a one-year-old daughter. Eberhardt was a certified nursing assistant and an organ donor who liked to race motocross bikes and bungee jump.

Saavedra drank three pitchers of beer, the equivalent of a 12-pack, at a fireman's dance before driving a pickup truck 94 mph on a road with a crest of a hill that could be jumped in a vehicle driven fast enough, the criminal complaint said.

The truck went out of control about 2:30 a.m., crashed into some trees and rolled over, the complaint said.

Saavedra had attended 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.

Newsline 9 will update this story once the sentence is handed down.





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