A Madison man pleaded no contest Friday to killing another driver in June in a crash that happened while he was driving under the influence of a psychedelic drug.
Gavin Veium, 22, was convicted of homicide by driving under the influence of a controlled substance, in this case, both the active ingredient in marijuana and the hallucinogenic drug LSD, for a June 23 crash that killed Diano McCullough, 45, of Madison.
Veium faces up to 25 years of combined prison and extended supervision when he is sentenced in about two months by Circuit Judge William Hanrahan. There was no agreement under a plea deal about how much time prosecutors could seek for Veium.
A criminal complaint states that Veium was going more than 60 mph on John Nolen Drive when he crashed into the back of an SUV near South Blair Street, leaving a skid mark of more than 200 feet before impact.
Police arriving at the scene found the SUV burning, with a fire in the engine block of Veium’s car. McCullough died at the scene, but an officer pulled Veium from his car. At UW Hospital, Veium told a nurse he had been using LSD, the complaint states.
Two other charges against Veium, homicide by intoxicated driving and second-degree reckless homicide, were dismissed under the plea agreement.
Hanrahan revoked Veium’s bail and ordered him jailed until his sentencing hearing. Veium’s lawyer, Laura Breun, asked that he be allowed to remain free on bail, but Assistant District Attorney William Brown said Veium has had several violations while on the Dane County Bail Monitoring Program.
Last month, according to court documents, a routine remote alcohol check found that Veium had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.029 percent, with a confirmation test that found the level to be 0.022 percent. The level is about a quarter of the 0.08 that Wisconsin considers as intoxication for drivers, but Veium was under an order to have no alcohol.
Veium told Julie Beyler from the Bail Monitoring Program that he had gotten up at 5:30 a.m., about two hours before the scheduled test, and ate a piece of tiramisu not knowing it contained rum, documents state.
Beyler was skeptical of the explanation, and Brown said he believes it’s “nonsense.”