Driver in Sun Prairie OWI homicide appears in court

TOWN OF SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — Days after the deadly crash that killed a Sun Prairie man, the driver in the other vehicle made his first appearance in court, as the community near the scene looks to move forward.

Nicholas Hanley, the accused driver, faces charges of homicide by intoxicated driving and fourth offense OWI causing injury. The judge set his cash bond at $35,000.

He is expected back in court, Friday.

According to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, the crash took place on the 2600 block of County Highway T around 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Both drivers were headed the same direction until one attempted to turn into a driveway. That’s when Hanley’s car hit the driver’s side of the other vehicle as he attempted to pass.

Jerry Hahn lives off of Highway T and said he heard the crash and left to investigate.

“Usually when I hear this bang, I always think of N and T because we’ve had several accidents down there but this one here was much louder and closer,” he said.

Hahn said it looked like the driver was pinned inside the vehicle from the impact. He said it took several minutes for the fire department, EMS and sheriff’s deputies to free him with the jaws of life.

“You see the person in there you want to help him but you can’t,” he said. “There was nothing you could do.”

According to the sheriff’s office the driver, 60-year-old Kevin Sylve died at the scene. His passenger was airlifted to University Hospital.

“Very sad,” Hahn said. “Something I won’t forget for a long time.”

The morning after, Russell Spiegle, who runs a farm stand on Hahn’s property, said he got his first look at what was left.

“There was still some debris out by the road and some glass broken and all the tracks going off the road and all that kind of stuff and I started looking at it and that’s when I started thinking to myself, ‘They were coming to your farm,'” he said.

Spiegle said this realization became even graver when he learned what led up to the crash.

“I’m sure it was avoidable and if alcohol played a part, that was something that was a known problem,” he said.

Instead, a family is grieving, a driver faces prison time and a community is looking to cope.

“Sunday afternoon, four o’clock, and all of a sudden your whole life changes,” Hahn said.

More on this story from WKOW 27 News

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