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Schmidt convicted of OWI homicide


The woman who killed Iola teenager Dylan Thorne in a drunken driving crash over three years ago was convicted of homicide Monday morning.

Heather D. Schmidt, 38, Ogdensburg, appeared before Judge Raymond Huber and entered a plea of no contest to a felony charge of homicide by the intoxicated use of a vehicle.

She is scheduled for sentencing at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Branch 3 of Waupaca County Circuit Court.

She faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

In reminding her that she was relinquishing her right to a jury trial, Huber told Schmidt, “I could give you the maximum penalty here.”

Huber said he was not bound by any recommendations that may have been discussed by her defense counsel, Troy Nielsen, and District Attorney John Snider.

Huber ordered that a pre-sentence investigation be completed in time for the sentencing hearing.

Shortly before 1:30 p.m. July 19, 2012, Schmidt was involved in a two-vehicle crash on County Trunk E in the town of St. Lawrence.

When Deputy Traci LaBrosse arrived at the scene, she found a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban on its passenger’s side in the northbound lane and a 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis on its wheels in the southbound lane.

Dylan Thorne, 18, was trapped in the Mercury and had to be extricated. Deputy Coroner Deanna Kramer pronounced him dead at the scene.

According to a State Patrol reconstruction of the crash, Schmidt’s Suburban had been travelling northbound when it crossed into the southbound lane and slammed into the Mercury.

Investigators estimate the Suburban was travelling 54-59 mph five seconds prior to impact. There were no skid marks at the scene of the crash.

The State Crime Lab reported that Schmidt had a 0.174 blood-alcohol level, more than twice the legal limit.

Witnesses told deputies they saw the Suburban speeding, driving erratically, and crossing into the southbound lane.

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