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License to Kill: Man who caused fatal crash was driving without license

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Joe Blashka's girlfriend, Kim Sylvia was killed when the motorcycle she was riding on was struck by a vehicle driven by Jesse Bergeron. Bergeron was found to have had his license revoked at the time of the crash, and Sylvia's loved ones were shocked to learn just three months after the crash, Bergeron had his license back. With a hit-and-run, OWIs on his record, and now a fatal crash, Sylvia's loved ones could only wonder, how could this happen?

Of all the Father's Days, there is one Joe Blashka will never forget. On his way to Sun Prairie to stop at Walmart, Blashka's motorcycle was struck by a red Pontiac Sunfire where Highway 19 meets Town Hall Drive.

"We were coming up on that intersection. I see a car pull up there and stop, and he just gunned it. I remember hitting the car, and in the back of my mind it was over," Blashka said.

Blashka's head was ripped open and his arm was broken. Blashka's girlfriend, Kim Sylvia was killed.

"My phone rang. It was a man asking me if I knew Joe Blashka. He said Joe had been in a motorcycle accident. My first question was, where was my mom?" Sylvia's daughter said.

Sylvia's daughters raced to the scene.

"The bike's just in the middle of the road in pieces. I felt like I was dreaming. Then, the doctor came in and told us she was gone. I couldn't imagine never talking to her again," Sylvia's daughter said.

Behind the wheel that day was Jesse Bergeron -- a three-time drunk driver with a hit and run in his history, a long record and no driver's license.

And the crash involving Blashka wasn't the first time Bergeron had been caught driving revoked. He was stopped without a license less than four months before the crash that killed Kim Sylvia.

"He doesn't go to jail. He goes home. You've got somebody who is dead, and you let him go home," Sylvia's sister said.

Based on Bergeron's Facebook posts, the party didn't stop after the crash that killed Sylvia. Meanwhile, Sylvia's daughters, sister and Blashka are left wondering why.

"Since the day of the accident, it seems like he doesn't care," Sylvia's daughter said.

"If he wouldn't have been driving, it wouldn't have happened," Blashka said.

So why was Bergeron behind the wheel that day -- driving without a license?

Bergeron's attorney says: "Lots and lots and lots of people drive after revocation. Being revoked had nothing to do with an accident occurring or somebody being hurt or killed. There's no connection between the license not being valid and the accident happening."

However, Bergeron shouldn't have been driving, as the courts repeatedly ordered him not to.

Less than three months after the crash that killed Sylvia, on September 14th, the state gave Bergeron his driver's license back, based on an eligibility date that had been set before 2012, before Bergeron was pulled over in February and before the crash that killed Sylvia in June.

Sylvia's family members were shocked, and even the Dane County District Attorney wondered how Bergeron was able to get his license back.

"I'm not sure how the DOT handles situations where someone is revoked and found driving without a conviction," the Dane County District Attorney told FOX6 News.

No one at the DOT wanted to speak with FOX6 News on camera. However, a spokesperson told FOX6 News without a conviction, there wasn't really anything that could be done to keep Bergeron from getting his license back.

Because it took four months to get toxicology results back after the crash that killed Sylvia, charges weren't filed until October.

Meanwhile, at Sylvia's grave site, Christmas decorations have been slow to come down, as Sylvia's loved ones say time has not healed the hurt.

"I wish he could understand how much hurt he has caused so many people. I want people to realize you can't just get in a car without a license, and there not be consequences," Sylvia's daughter said.

"There's too many people getting away with this stuff all the time," Blashka said.

FOX6 News has learned Bergeron's trial date hasn't been set. He remains free on bail, driver's license in hand.

Following his traffic stop in February, where Bergeron was found to be speeding and driving revoked, Bergeron was able to get his license back because he pleaded not guilty to charges against him.

The case then got punted around the Dane County courthouse for months, with delayed hearings and a change of judges.

Finally, in October, the District Attorney's Office ordered the court to amend the "driving revoked" charge down to a simple "driving without carrying a license" -- the same ticket that would be issued to someone who left their license at home.

This happened one week before charges were filed for the crash. The District Attorney told FOX6 News the prosecutor who ordered the lesser charge didn't know Bergeron had been involved in a fatal crash months before.

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