4-time drunken driver who struck, seriously injured girls gets 8 years prison

A 31-year-old Edgerton man was sentenced in Dane County Court Tuesday afternoon in connection with a drunken-driving crash that seriously injured two Middleton girls last year.

Ross Cotter-Brown pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 to five felony counts of the 12 counts against him in the case.

Judge Josann Reynolds sentenced Cotter-Brown to eight years in prison, saying he’s a “poster child” for what’s wrong with Wisconsin’s drunken driving laws. Reynolds also sentenced him to five years probation.

Cotter-Brown had been in a pursuit with Dane County sheriff’s deputies just before the crash on the afternoon of April 21 . Cotter-Brown was drunk, driving on Century Avenue when hit Hayley Krause and Ari Meyer, who were 12 and 13 at the time of the wreck. The girls were seriously injured. Cotter-Brown fled the scene.

Cotter-Brown pleaded guilty to injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, operating while intoxicated causing an injury, hit-and-run involving great bodily harm and two counts of hit-and-run involving injury.

At the sentencing, Middleton Firefighter Timothy Krause, Hayley’s father, said Cotter-Brown left Hayley for dead “and continued your carnage.”

Ari’s mother, Theresa Meyer, also gave an emotional statement in court, saying the day of the crash was one of the worst days of her life.

“It wasn’t a day that was full of happiness and joy,” Meyer said. “Unfortunately it was a day out of a nightmare. A day where my worst fear as a parent came to reality.”

“All of this is something that could have been prevented and it was no accident,” Meyer added.

Cotter-Brown’s girlfriend, Stacey Cartey, spoke, saying Cotter-Brown “knows he needs to serve prison time for what he did.” Cotter-Brown’s father Charles Cotter said there is “no question” of his son’s guilt, and said Cotter-Brown is a good person who feels terrible about what he’s done.

“Our hope is that his incarceration provides an opportunity for rehabilitation,” Charles Cotter said.

Cotter-Brown expressed remorse during his testimony.

“Words can’t do anything to make this better for anyone,” Cotter-Brown said. “If this happened to one of my kids, I would want to kill the person who did this.”

According to the court documents, police found three bottles of peppermint schnapps and two unopened bottles of beer in the truck Cotter-Brown was driving. They also found synthetic marijuana.

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