A Waunakee man who struck and killed a bicyclist while driving drowsy in the town of Westport in 2012 was sentenced Monday to a year in jail after pleading guilty to negligent homicide.
Timothy J. Grulke, 24, hit and killed Carrie J. Pete, 37, on Highway M after falling asleep behind the wheel on Oct. 9, 2012, causing his truck to drift across the fog line.
“I’m truly sorry for what happened,” Grulke said before he was sentenced. “I wish I could go back every day. Every time I see a bicycle, I’m reminded of her.”
Grulke pleaded guilty to homicide by negligent driving. Following a mutual request made under a plea agreement between Grulke and his lawyer and Assistant District Attorney Emily Thompson, Dane County Circuit Judge Nicholas McNamara sentenced Grulke to a year injail.
By agreeing to the plea and the sentence, McNamara said, Grulke had become a “willing symbol” of the dangerousness of driving while drowsy.
McNamara said Grulke should have known that he wasn’t safe to drive, and “that there was negligence to a high degree that resulted in the worst possible harm to a person.”
Thompson said Grulke had worked an overnight shift, then came home, ate breakfast and went to exercise at a gym.
He got tired while working out so he went home but then went out again to run an errand.
That was when he struck Pete.
Thompson said a man driving behind Grulke’s truck saw it drift over the fog line several times, and the last time it drifted he saw a bicycle fly into the air and travel 30 to 40 feet.
At the scene, Grulke told police that he fell asleep at the wheel and was awakened by a loud clunk.
Grulke’s lawyer, Greg Dutch, said he struggled to decide whether the crash was an accident or negligence on Grulke’s part, but in the end it was Grulke who decided he did not want to put Pete’s family through a trial.