Janesville surgeon pleads guilty to fatal crash in New Zealand - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Janesville surgeon pleads guilty to fatal crash in New Zealand

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Courtesy: Braden Fastier / The Nelson Mail Courtesy: Braden Fastier / The Nelson Mail
Courtesy: Martin De Ruyter/Fairfax NZ Courtesy: Martin De Ruyter/Fairfax NZ
Courtesy: Martin De Ruyter/Fairfax NZ Courtesy: Martin De Ruyter/Fairfax NZ

UPDATE (WKOW) -- A Janesville heart surgeon on vacation in New Zealand will be sentenced for a deadly crash next month.

The Nelson Mail out of New Zealand reports Kenneth Wolnak pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of careless use of a motor vehicle causing death and four counts of careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury.

Wolnak has worked at Mercy Health System in Janesville for the last 15 years.

The Nelson Mail reports in court Tuesday, more details emerged about the fatal crash. Wolnak was traveling with his wife to explore Abel Tasman National Park on February 27 when he made a left turn onto a state highway. Authorities say he drove about two kilometers (1.25 miles) before realizing he should have turned right. He pulled over, then attempted a U-turn on the busy Coastal Highway, reports the online publication. 

After Wolnak made the U-turn, he crashed head-on with a flatbed truck carrying about 6.5 tons of scaffolding. The truck then crossed the center line into the path of oncoming traffic and hit an SUV towing a caravan. The scaffolding spilled across the highway and the caravan was "decimated," according to the Nelson Mail.

The driver of the truck, Steve Jayes, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV, Kevin Whitburn, 69, was also killed. His wife was injured.

Dr. Wolnak's wife suffered serious injuries in the crash. The Nelson Mail reports she was recently discharged from the hospital.

Two passengers in the truck also had injuries.

Wolnak's sentencing is set for April 24.

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NEW ZEALAND (WKOW) -- A Janesville surgeon pleads guilty to causing a car crash that killed two people in New Zealand.

The Nelson Mail in New Zealand reports Kenneth Wolnak pleaded guilty to two charges of careless driving causing death and four charges of careless driving causing injury.  He was in court Tuesday.

Wolnak has worked for Mercy Health for 15 years, according to a statement from the medical director.

The New Zealand newspaper says his sentencing has been scheduled for April 24.

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