Boyceville man pleads not guilty to five felonies related to vehicular homicide
By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 47-year-old Boyceville man has pleaded not guilty to five felonies, including homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle, in connection with a fatal car crash on state Highway 79 in February.
Todd R. Dormanen appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court April 30 at an arraignment hearing with his attorney, William A. Schembera, before Judge Rod Smeltzer to enter a plea of not guilty.
Dormanen is charged with the death of Jena Anderson, 54, of Boyceville, following a head-on collision on Highway 79 south of Boyceville in the Town of Sherman on Monday, February 12.
According to the criminal complaint, Anderson’s daughter, Kallie, also was injured in the crash and sustained a torn spleen, fractured ribs, and had pins placed in her foot.
In addition to homicide by the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, Dormanen is charged with Operating While Intoxicated causing injury, OWI fourth offense, homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and reckless driving causing great bodily harm.
Judge Smeltzer set a $10,000 cash bail for Dormanen March 1, and Dormanen posted the cash bail March 14.
According to the criminal complaint, at around 12:42 p.m. February 12, the Dunn County Communications Center received a 911 call from a woman, later identified as Kallie J. Anderson, who reported she had been in a two-vehicle accident, and her mother was slumped over and unresponsive.
Dispatch also reported a man came onto the line who was next to Jena Anderson and said he unable to feel a pulse or respirations.
Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin was one of the officers to first arrive on the scene.
Police Chief Lamkin surveyed the accident scene and formed the opinion it appeared the Chevrolet Equinox, driven by Jena Anderson with Kallie Anderson as a passenger, had been traveling south on Highway 79, and a Kia Sorento, driven by Dormanen, had been headed north on Highway 79, according to the complaint.
The Equinox was in the ditch on the west side of the road, and when it was struck, appeared to have spun toward the ditch and came to a rest almost facing north. The Sorento was on the east side of the road, facing north, with heavy front end damage on the left.
Police Chief Lamkin reported it was clear from the point of impact the Equinox had been pulling toward the right side of the road while the Sorento had crossed the center line, according to the complaint.
Jena Anderson, Kallie Anderson and Dormanen were all wearing seat belts.
Police Chief Lamkin also reported over the smell of the airbag propellant and engine fluids, he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the interior of Dormanen’s vehicle, according to the complaint.
Dunn County sheriff’s deputies who arrived on the scene came to the same conclusions as Police Chief Lamkin: the Sorento driven by Dormanen appeared to have crossed the center line into the southbound lane and struck the Andersons’ vehicle. Dormanen’s vehicle appeared to have spun 360 degrees and came a rest on the east shoulder facing north, and the Andersons’ vehicle had spun 180 degrees and came to a rest in the west ditch, facing north.
Dunn County Deputy Jason McDonald arrived at Mayo Eau Claire at around 2:15 p.m. February 12 to make contact with Dormanen.
Deputy McDonald reported a strong odor of intoxicants coming from Dormanen, and when Dormanen began to speak, the deputy observed Dormanen had slurred speech. Dormanen told the deputy he did not remember anything about the crash or what had happened. The Boyceville fire department extracted Dormanen from the vehicle, and when Deputy McDonald was at the hospital, Dormanen was wearing a cervical collar around his neck, according to the complaint.
When asked where he had been that morning, Dormanen said he worked the night shift at Phillips Plastics in Menomonie and got off work at 6 or 6:30 a.m. When asked how much he’d had to drink, Dormanen said he might have had a few beers at Tom and Jo’s Bar in Menomonie. Dormanen told the deputy he did not know if he had been with anyone at the bar and that he did not know the name of the bartender but she was about 30 years old, according to the complaint.
Tom and Jo’s
Deputy McDonald went to Tom and Jo’s Bar around 5 p.m. February 12 and made contact with one of the bartenders, Jacob Luther, who said he had stopped in briefly at the bar in the morning around 9 a.m. to do the payroll and had observed Dormanen sitting at bar drinking a tall Busch Light in a can.
Luther said while he had only stopped in to do the payroll, he does know Dormanen, and Dormanen usually stops in at the bar Monday mornings, although sometimes he stops in on Friday mornings. Luther said he drove back by the bar around noon and saw Dormanen’s vehicle still parked outside, but when he came to work at 1 p.m., Dormanen and the vehicle were gone, according to the complaint.
Deputy McDonald later made telephone contact with the bartender at Tom and Jo’s who had been working the morning of February 12, Heidi Glaser.
Glaser said she knows Dormanen. She had opened the bar at 6 a.m., and Dormanen had arrived at the bar at around 6:30 a.m. with a friend. Glaser said she only knew Dormanen’s friend as Emily.
Glaser said Dormanen usually comes in on Mondays and would only stay for a few drinks, but that day, he had stayed longer, until about 11:30 a.m. or noon. During the time Dormanen was at the bar, Glaser said she had served him between eight to 10 16-ounce cans of Busch Light, according to the complaint.
Before Dormanen left, Glaser said she observed he had slurred speech and told him he should not drive, should choose an alternate means of getting home or he should stay in town. Glaser reported while she was serving other customers, she had overheard Dormanen and Emily discussing whether the defendant should stay at Emily’s place.
Glaser said she believed Dormanen was going to stay in town and would not be driving. While Glaser was concerned about Dormanen driving because he had slurred speech and because of the amount of alcohol he had consumed, she was unable to observe whether Dormanen was stumbling or had good balance because it was busy in the bar, according to the complaint.
Dormanen was found guilty of an OWI offenses in Dunn County on September 1, 1993, and on June 5, 1996, as well as in St. Croix County on September 22, 1999, according to the complaint.
Homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle while having a prior intoxicant-related conviction is a Class C felony that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of up to to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000. If convicted, Dormanen would lose his driver license for five years.
Operating While Intoxicated causing injury for a second and subsequent offense is a Class H felony that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of up to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted, Dormanen would lose his driver’s license for not less than one year or not more than two years.
OWI 4th offense is Class H felony that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of up to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted, Dormanen would lose his driver’s license for not less than two years and not more than three years.
Homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle is a Class G felony that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $25,000 fine. If convicted, Dormanen would lose his driver’s license for one year.
Reckless driving causing great bodily harm is a Class I felony that, upon conviction, carries a penalty of up to three years and six months in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Dormanen is scheduled for another court hearing in Dunn County June 25.
The defendant waived his right to a preliminary hearing March 9, at which time Judge Smeltzer found probable cause based on the criminal complaint and bound Dormanen over for trial.