Dorchester man, 21, pleads not guilty in July fatal crash - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Dorchester man, 21, pleads not guilty in July fatal crash

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MEDFORD (WAOW) - A 21-year-old Dorchester man pleaded not guilty Thursday to three felonies in the July 2 crash that fatally injured a Rib Lake man, according to online Taylor County court records.

After a judge ordered a trial when Gerald Baker gave up his right to a preliminary hearing, Baker pleaded not guilty to homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, knowingly operating a vehicle with a revoked license that causes a death and reckless driving causing great bodily harm, court records said.

No trial date was immediately set.

Prosecutors say Ben Gosar, 24, was sleeping in the box of a pickup truck when Baker, who had been drinking, hit the gas hard, lost control and crashed into a ditch. Gosar died six days later in a Madison hospital.

Police say Gosar suffered a fractured vertebrae when the truck flipped and ended up 15 feet into a ditch on Shady Lane near Wellington Lake Road in the Town of Greenwood.

Baker told authorities he went to a house party with his girlfriend, drank "eight tap beers," left about midnight and didn't know Gosar was sleeping in the box of the truck, the criminal complaint said. Baker said he met Gosar a few weeks before the party.

Baker earlier pleaded not guilty to three traffic citations in the crash, including operating a motor vehicle without insurance and failure to have his vehicle registered.

In April, Baker pleaded no contest to operating while intoxicated in an unrelated incident, according to court records. His license was suspended at the time of the fatal crash.

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