Fatal crash suspect gets driver's license back - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fatal crash suspect gets driver's license back


MADISON (WKOW) -- Loved ones of a fatal crash victim are outraged the suspect in causing the crash had his revoked driver's license reinstated, despite the pending case, three drunk driving convictions, and other, recent traffic violations.

"I am shocked," the victim's daughter, Amanda Sylvia told 27 News.

Sylvia's mother, 47-year old Kim Sylvia of Marshall, was a passenger on a motorcycle, when the motorcycle was hit by a left turning car on Highway 19 in Sun Prairie June 17, 2012. Sylvia was killed and the driver was seriously hurt. Authorities said the car's driver, 34-year old Jesse Bergeron of Deerfield, failed to yield.

At the time of the crash, Bergeron had a revoked driver's license as a result of three drunk driving convictions. Bergeron also had a separate traffic case: authorities said Bergeron was speeding and operating with a revoked license in February.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said the state department of transportation reinstated Bergeron's driver's license Sept. 14. Two different DOT spokespersons have yet to respond to calls and emails from 27 News seeking an explanation for the reinstatement.

The reinstatement also appears to have been facilitated by a decision a Dane County prosecutor to offer Bergeron leniency in his speeding case, despite the pending, fatal crash matter.

Records show Bergeron struck a plea bargain in which a misdemeanor, operating after revocation charge was reduced to a simple ticket: No driver's license on person. Bergeron was also found responsible for speeding.

Bergeron's plea deal was approved by a judge and entered in court records Oct. 10. On Oct. 17, Bergeron was charged with several felony crimes, including operating after revocation causing death.

Ozanne told 27 News Bergeron's plea deal was agreed upon by Bergeron and assistant Dane County district attorney Jonathan Kaiser in May, before the fatal crash.

But available DOT records show Bergeron's driver's record notes "ACCIDENT FATAL,"  on June 17.

When asked whether prosecutors are expected to check driver histories before plea settlements are submitted in court for approval in criminal, driving cases, Ozanne reiterated Bergeron's plea bargain was reached in May.

Ozanne conceded communication between involved staff in these cases could have been better.

When a reporter visited Bergeron's Deerfield home, a woman told 27 News Bergeron was at work and unlikely to offer any comment.

"If he did it once, and he's done multiple traffic violations, he's just going to keep doing them," Amanda Sylvia told 27 News.

"How many people does he have to injure and kill, or how many families does he have to ruin, before finally someone sees, he should not have a driver's license?" Sylvia asked.

One of Bergeron's bail conditions in the fatal crash case prohibits him from driving, unless he has a valid license. Bergeron is facing trial, with a pre-trial conference scheduled Friday.



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