Semi driver to be charged with 2017 Clark County fatal crash

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GRANTON, Wis. (WSAW) -- Prosecutors will charge the 54-year-old man they said caused a fatal crash in Clark County in 2017 with reckless homicide.

The criminal complaint states Roger Waltemate will be charged with second degree reckless homicide, three counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety and two counts of second degree recklessly endangering safety.

The Clark County Sheriff's Department said on July 10, 2017 a semi driven by Waltemate, rear-ended a Jeep, pushing it out of the way. And rear ended a van, causing it to strike a car. It happened on Highway 10 near the Town of Grant.

The driver of the Jeep was identified as Anthony Phipps, 47, of Granton. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to court documents, Waltemate said he attempted to brake twice while approaching the vehicles; which were stopped in a construction zone, however his brakes did not work.

A flagger told investigators the he did not hear the brakes lock up until after the collision.

A search of Waltemate’s phone showed a text message had been sent at 12:13 p.m. The flagger called 911 to report the crash at 12:17 p.m. The flagger said he called 911 after checking on Phipps.

According to court documents, Waltemate said he was waiting for a text but was not distracted at the time of the crash.

A crash reconstructionist said that there was a delayed application of brakes, causing the collision. He stated it was not the collision that stopped the semi, but rather that sufficient braking occurred after impact to bring the unit to a stop. He noted that there were no visible pre-impact tire marks created by the semi.

Waltemate is expected to be formally charged Friday.