Trial ordered in fatal Taylor Co. OWI crash - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Trial ordered in fatal Taylor Co. OWI crash

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MEDFORD (WAOW) - A judge Friday ordered a trial for a driver accused of plowing into a group of deer hunters last fall, killing one.

James Winchel, 42, of Sheldon is charged with six felonies, including homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and fifth-offense operating while intoxicated, in the Nov. 29 crash that killed Juan Salinas, 50, of Roscoe, Ill., and injured another man on a rural road in western Taylor County.

Winchel had a blood-alcohol level more than double the legal limit to drive, according to the criminal complaint.

Taylor County Circuit Judge Ann Knox-Bauer ruled prosecutors presented enough evidence to justify the charges during Friday's preliminary hearing.

Winchel is to return to court June 9 to enter pleas, according to online court records.


Salinas and his hunting group were walking along the road after coming out of some woods when he and another man were struck by a car Winchel was driving at least 50 mph, the criminal complaint said.

Investigators report the gun Salinas was carrying smashed through the windshield of car, striking Winchel, the complaint said.

Winchel's blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.196 percent, the complaint said. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Winchel told investigators he had five or six beers in the two hours before the crash and he was probably intoxicated, the complaint said.

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