Man charged in deadly Middleton crash held on $75,000 cash bond

MADISON, Wis. — The man charged with killing three local high school students in a deadly crash earlier this month is being held on a $75,000 cash bond.

Eric Mehring, 30, made his initial appearance in Dane County court on Thursday with family members of all three victims present. He’s charged with three counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, three counts of second-degree reckless homicide, and two counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety.

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Commissioner Brian Asmus, who presided over the hearing, ordered Mehring be held on a $75,000 cash bond. Mehring was also ordered to wear a GPS tracking device, avoid driving, avoid contact with the victims’ families and abstain from drug or alcohol consumption as conditions of his bond.

Assistant District Attorney William Brown initially requested a cash bond of $300,000 to $500,000 citing the uniqueness of the case and severity of the charges.

“I can’t even recall the last time there was an OWI homicide case with so many victims, both who died and other people whose safety were in danger during the course of the event,” Brown said. “The bail amount I’m requesting is higher than any bail amount I could find in any of those cases.”

Mehring’s attorney, Chris Van Wagner, pushed back saying such a high cash bond would be excessive given Mehring’s lack of criminal record and “pro-social” life.

“I may be the most hated man in the county today but the fact of the matter is that the court has to look at the risk of flight,” Van Wagner said.

Van Wagner requested a signature bond with conditions or a $10,000 cash bond.

Details from the criminal complaint filed against Mehring allege that the 30-year-old was driving 75 mph in an area where the speed limit drops from 55 to 45 mph. It also alleges he was driving with a BAC of .242, which is three times the legal limit.

After the crash, Mehring allegedly told investigators he was on his way home from a local bar.

The three victims — Simon Bilessi, Jack Miller and Evan Kratochwill — died at the scene of the crash. Court documents suggest the Medical Examiner found they died of blunt force trauma because of the crash. When police arrived at the scene, they found their vehicle fully engulfed in flames.

Members of all three teens’ families spoke during the hearing. John Miller, Jack Miller’s dad, said he and others wanted to see Mehring held on a $1 million bond.

“Three young lives have been destroyed by the choices made by the defendant,” Miller said. “He has already demonstrated a blatant disregard for the law and a blatant disregard for the safety of this community.”

Mehring was booked into the Dane County Jail on Tuesday after he was discharged from the hospital. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m.