Man charged with hitting, killing bicyclist pleads guilty

A man accused of a fatal hit-and-run in the town of Oregon in August pleaded guilty Tuesday to homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle while using a controlled substance and other charges, including theft. Other charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Kevin Meister, 35, faced felony hit-and-run charges in the death of 33-year-old Shelton Berel, who was riding his bike at the time of the crash.

According to Berel’s obituary, he was training for a triathlon the morning he was killed. Dane County officials said Meister was driving on Lincoln Road and Hillcrest Lane in the town of Oregon when he hit a bicyclist with his pickup truck and kept driving.

Other drivers who saw the truck strike something and leave, stopped and called 911 within seconds of the crash, according to the criminal complaint. Berel was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the criminal complaint, Meister’s sister called authorities after hearing media reports of the hit-and-run that included a vehicle description similar to that of her brother’s truck. Meister’s truck was found later that day at his job, where he was taken into custody. He told detectives he had reached down in his vehicle to grab a bottle of iced tea and thought he struck a deer. He said he kept driving because he was late for work.

Detectives said Meister was driving on the wrong side of the road when he struck Berel. The criminal complaint also said police found drug paraphernalia in Meister’s truck, and drug tests found cocaine in Meister’s blood the day of the crash.

“He didn’t do anything to conceal his whereabouts. He didn’t flee the area. I didn’t hear anything about trying to make repairs to vehicles or anything like that. It’s an unusual case in that regard,” court commissioner Jason Hanson said.

Meister faces up to 40 years in prison. He remained in the Dane County Jail Tuesday.