Beaver Dam man found guilty of homicide in 2019 crash

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 4:15 PM CDT
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BEAVER DAM, Wis. (WMTV) - A Beaver Dam man is slated to learn his fate in September after being convicted of homicide stemming from a 2019 wrong-way crash that involved two other vehicles.

A Dodge Co. court found Dustin Vandergalien guilty Tuesday after the 36-year-old pleaded no contest to homicide by vehicle related to the use of a controlled substance, as well as causing great bodily harm while having a controlled substance in his blood stream, and operating with a detectable amount of a controlled substance in blood while and causing an injury.

“A young man lost his life and six others were injured due to the careless and reckless operation of a vehicle by the defendant,” District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said. “This crash was totally preventable, and should not have happened.”

The District Attorney’s Office explained Vandergailen was heading east on County Rd. E on July 30, 2019, when he crossed into the oncoming lane to pass another vehicle. He did not make it back into his lane before striking the front corner of a Chevrolet Equinox headed his way. Vandergailen’s vehicle then collided with a second westbound vehicle.

The passenger in the second vehicle Vandergailen hit was killed in the crash, while the driver and two people in the backseat were injured. All three people in the Equinox were hurt as well.

After emergency crews pulled him from his vehicle, Vandergailen, who has two previous operating while intoxicated convictions, reportedly told officers he had a few mixers. Later blood tests found a metabolite of cocaine and that he had been drinking before the crash, the DA’s office stated.

“The defendant, a repeat drunk driver, again chose to drive recklessly after consuming intoxicants,” Klomberg continued. “Seven innocent people paid the price. I will be seeking a long term in prison for the defendant.”

In his statement, Klomberg pledged to seek an extended sentence for Vandergailen and the hearing is currently set for September 15.

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