A man whose car smashed into another on Oct. 2, killing three teenagers in the town of Middleton, was driving with three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, a breath test found, according to a search warrant filed Thursday.
The Dane County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday it recommended the Dane County District Attorney’s office file three counts of homicide by drunken driving, among several other felonies, against Eric N. Mehring, 30, of Madison. Mehring’s 2016 Jaguar is believed to have been traveling at high speed when it slammed into the back of a 2013 Chevy Cruze, sending that vehicle into a farm field where it became engulfed in flames and its three occupants died.
Mehring told investigators he was driving about 75 mph in the 45 mph zone before the crash, the search warrant states.
The crash happened on West Mineral Point Road at Karls Court in the town of Middleton. It killed Madison West senior Simon Bilessi and Middleton seniors Evan Kratochwill and Jack Miller.
According to the search warrant filed in Dane County Circuit Court, a preliminary breath test found that Mehring had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.24 percent, three times the 0.08 percent limit for Wisconsin drivers. The breath test is not admissible in court, but it was among the facts set out in the search warrant to get a sample of Mehring’s blood, drawn in the emergency room during medical procedures at UW Hospital on Oct. 2.
According to the search warrant, Deputy Alex Fell spoke to Mehring while he was still in the driver’s seat of the Jaguar at the crash scene. Mehring said he was coming from a bar where he had one or two drinks. He said he was driving “above the speed limit” and hit his brakes “but it wasn’t quick enough,” according to the warrant.
At UW Hospital, after he was medically stabilized, Mehring told Fell he had two rum and Cokes. He estimated the speed he was driving was 75 mph in the 45 mph zone. Fell noted while talking with him Mehring’s eyes were “glossy and bloodshot.” At that point, Mehring submitted to the preliminary breath test, the warrant states.
Later, speaking to Sheriff’s Office Detective William Hendrickson, Mehring again said he was going “about 75” and said he was “very comfortable” with that estimate, according to the warrant. When Hendrickson asked Mehring why he was going so fast, he said, “overconfidence.”
The Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that Mehring would remain at the hospital to recover from his injuries.