Sauk County squad tight crop

A Middleton High School student died Sunday from injuries she suffered as a passenger in a single-vehicle crash Friday night in which the driver was allegedly intoxicated, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Deputies were alerted around 9:50 p.m. that a car had crashed into a wooded area off Highway 12, near the intersection of Old Bluff Trail. A 15-year-old female passenger was flown to UW Hospital for serious injuries, according to the sheriff’s office. She died early Sunday morning from the injuries.

The sheriff’s office said another passenger, a 13-year-old girl, had injuries that were not life-threatening. She was taken to Sauk Prairie Hospital.

Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District spokesman Perry Hibner said in an email that the school resource officer at Middleton High School confirmed the girl who died from her injuries was a sophomore at the school. Hibner identified the victim as Bethany Budzinski.

Students will be off school Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

“We are working on the logistics to help students and staff when they return to school on Tuesday,” Hibner said.

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Speed and alcohol factored into the crash, the sheriff’s office said.

The initial investigation shows the 2012 Honda Accord, being driven by 20-year-old Puneet Kumar Sharma, was headed south on Highway 12 at a high rate of speed when it left the roadway on a curve at Old Bluff Trail, the sheriff’s office said.

The car went airborne and struck several trees before landing on its tires, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sharma, of Madison, was arrested on a tentative charge of operating while intoxicated and causing injuries with passengers under 16 years old, the sheriff’s office said. Sharma was still in the Sauk County Jail on Sunday.

Along with the sheriff’s office, the Sauk Prairie Ambulance Service, Baraboo Ambulance and Sauk City Fire Department responded to the crash.

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