Beaver Dam man sentenced to more than 20 years for fatal wrong-way crash

Jason Morrison/

BEAVER DAM, Wis. — A Beaver Dam man was sentenced Wednesday to more than two decades in prison for killing one person and injuring six others while driving impaired.

Authorities said 36-year-old Dustin Vandergalien crashed into two vehicles while driving in the wrong direction on County Road E. Officials said Vandergailen was driving east in the westbound lane while trying to pass a vehicle.

While driving into oncoming traffic, Vandergalien crashed into a vehicle that had swerved to avoid him. That vehicle was knocked off the roadway and left three people injured. Another vehicle, which was behind the first vehicle Vandergalien hit, was struck head-on, killing the front passenger and injuring three others.

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“The defendant did not just engage in a failed passing maneuver. He had the sun to his rear, no obstructions in his view and the visibility on this flat, straight stretch of highway is among the best in the county,” District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said at sentencing. “He had to see the vehicles coming, yet remained in their lane for nearly the lengths of two football fields, possibly more. The defendant’s behavior was reckless and showed utter disregard for human life.”

According to an examination of electronic records from Vandergalien’s vehicle, he drove at 77 mph for an extended period of time and didn’t make any effort to avoid the oncoming vehicles or break.

A witness reportedly said Vandergalien had been driving erratically for miles before the crash and remained in the lane of oncoming traffic for an extended period of time.

Blood results showed Vandergalien had cocaine and alcohol in his system at the time of the crash.

He was ultimately sentenced to 21 1/2 years in prison and 19 years of extended supervision for homicide by vehicle – use of controlled substance second offense, use of a vehicle with controlled substance in blood causing great bodily harm, and operating with a detectable amount of restricted controlled substance in blood causing injury as a second or subsequent offense.