|12/7/2018 12:21:00 PM|
Long sentence for traffic death while intoxicated
Kelly Johnsrud had a good share of the rest of her life determined for her last Wednesday by the Iowa County Court.
The 54 year old Muscoda resident was in court for her last time before starting a lengthy prison term for causing death by use of a motor vehicle while intoxicated with one or more previous convictions. On Friday, October 13, 2017 her vehicle crossed the centerline and struck a truck driven by Kevin Kaltenberg, 38, Yuba. Kaltenberg died instantly in the crach.
After a year in jail, mostly in Sauk County, Johnsrud received her sentence from Iowa County Judge Margaret Koehler after five hours of testimony at her sentencing hearing. Johnsrud had entered a no contest plea September 4 at which time the court found her guilty.
After testimony by DOC probation agent Sonya Jansen and a private contractor Lisa Andreas, both of who had prepared a presentencing investigation report, and testimony by Johnsrud along with seven victim statements by Kaltenberg's family, Judge Koehler made her ruling.
During proceedings Johnsrud's attorney Jeremiah Meyer-O'Day argued for a five year prison term while Andreas felt three years would accomplish what was needed to allow for a return to society with her addiction under control. Kaltenberg's family members asked for 20 years confinement.
Judge Koehler gave lengthy dialogue prior to sentencing which provided her reasoning for what she imposed. She then ordered a 18 years sentence which includes 10 years in prison and eight years extended supervision. Other provisions include installation of an ignition interlock device upon legal licensure, five years without a drivers license plus initial confinement time, AODA and no contact with the victim's family. She must also follow through on all recommendations and treatment, cannot possess controlled substances without a valid prescription and attend a victim panel as directed by the DOC annually.
As for restitution Johnsrud must pay all costs and also pay $4451.64, half the funeral cost, to each parent.
Johnsrud gave a tearful testimony when she was on the stand and also a tearful apology to the Kaltenberg family which includes his eight year old son.
"I will carry this with me every day the rest of my life," she said. "If I could switch places with him I would in a minute."
During proceedings a sad life for Johnsrud was portrayed.
Her parents split when she was a small child and she and her sister faced constant verbal abuse from her mother, the custodial parent. The children looked forward to time with their father to get relief.
She became pregnant while in high school and dropped out to marry a man 10 years her senior. She had two children with him and acquired her GED. They are now divorced and only one of her children has contact with her.
She has worked nine jobs since 1986. She admitted to use of alcohol and drugs, including crack, throughout her life because she was depressed and stressed. She was in and out of relationships as well.
Johnsrud received her first OWI in 2011 and at that time she pledged to herself to stop drinking and she did for four years.
But then she met a man and started a relationship with him. Most of their time was spent drinking.
She decided she needed treatment and saw a counselor. The counselor left after her first session and Johnsrud never went back. She was without a car part of the time then and had not money for treatment. She made the decision to self medicate.
Things got worse the eight days prior to the fatal accident. She found a bag of Klonopin in a park in Muscoda and started to take the pills like candy, at least 15 a day. She mixed them with drugs. She continued to drive.
She admits to being in a fog for those eight days that included OWI arrests in both Grant and Dane counties. Then came the fatal crash.
During testimony Johnsrud said she did not remember anything from the time she left a bar in Arena until she was at UW Hospital hours later. She does not remember the crash, the interview by the investigating officers or the EMTs checking her over and taking her to the hospital.
The Class C felony she was charged with carries as a maximum penalty 40 years in prison or a fine of $100,000 or both.
There were two positive things that came out of the criminal case. The Kaltenberg family all said they hope she gets the treatment she needs and can become a useful member of society when she is released.
Johnsrud admitted she believes she needs treatment and will work in prison to conquer her addiction.
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