WINNEBAGO CO. — Carly Ottery, the teenage driver charged in a crash that killed three Campbellsport High School students back in February made her first appearance in court Tuesday morning. After the initial appearance Ottery was released on a $5,000 signature bond.
The crash happened just north of Highway 67 in the Township of Ashford on Saturday, February 4th. Sabrina Stahl, Katie Berg and Caitlin Scannell all died from their injuries. Ottery and five other students were hurt.
The Fond du Lac County Sheriff said in February that speed and failure to wear seat belts were factors in the crash. Alcohol was not believed to be a factor in this crash.
A crash reconstruction expert estimated the Chevy Tahoe was traveling between 103 and 109 miles per hour at time when Ottery lost control of the vehicle.
Minutes after the crash, Ottery is said to have told a Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s deputy she hit a “dip” on Beechnut Road that “makes your belly drop” before the vehicle became airborne.
Ottery is also alleged to have said her speed caused her to lose control of the Tahoe, saying “I was driving fast because it was cool,” adding that she was a “stupid (expletive) teenager.” Ottery also allegedly said the passengers “weren’t wearing their seat belts, and that’s why they flew so (expletive) far out of the car.”
Ottery was charged with three counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. If convicted, she faces up to ten years in prison and $25,000 in fines for each charge.
Ottery will be back in court in July. The Winnebago County District Attorney expects this case will resolve with a plea agreement of some kind.
“These are difficult circumstances, but it’s also a slippery slope. At what point do you say the penalty for the crime is living with the consequences of what you did? Quite honestly I’ve never prosecuted a drunk driver who killed somebody who said ‘well I was hoping after I got drunk to run into that family and kill them,’ so they have to live with the consequences too,” Winnebago County DA Christian Gossett said.
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