Ashland Police are not recommending charges against a Wisconsin state senator following a deadly car crash last friday.
Police say Senator Janet Bewley, D-Mason, pulled out in front of a mother who was driving along U.S. Highway 2 last Friday, causing a fatal wreck.
“The preliminary investigation showed that the accident occurred when a vehicle driven by Janet Bewley, age 70 of Mason, WI, pulled out from the entrance of Maslowski Beach to turn east onto US Hwy 2,” the police report read. “That vehicle collided with a vehicle that was westbound on US 2 driven by Alyssa Ortman, age 27 of Clearfield, PA. That vehicle then spun across the highway and was struck by an eastbound vehicle driven by Jodi Munson, age 45 of Mason, WI.”
Police say Ortman died at a local hospital, her five-year-old daughter died at the scene.
Ashland Police say it does not appear that alcohol was a factor in the crash.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one of its intern reporters, Ben Baker was on the phone with Bewley at the time of the wreck. After the interview began, Bewley told Baker she had cataract eye surgery the day before. Minutes later, she stopped talking mid-sentence and the call went silent. When Baker asked Bewley if she was still on the line, she sounded concerned. When Baker asked if she was OK, she said, “Yeah, I’m OK. This is not a good accident.”
Bewley, who is the top Democrat in the Wisconsin Senate, was not injured. Her office issued a statement on Monday.
“Senator Bewley was involved in a three-vehicle accident in Ashland, Wisconsin on Friday, July 22nd. Tragically, two people lost their lives. This is a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the individuals involved, their families and their loved ones,” the statement read. “A police investigation is ongoing. Out of respect for that investigation and the privacy of all the families involved, our office will be withholding further comment at this time.”
Ashland’s police chief told the local newspaper that he has not recommended charges in the case.