Convicted drunk driver charged with killing 2 in a drunk-driving crash
Samuel Coppersmith, who doesn't turn 21 until next month, is charged with a July 19 rollover crash on I-41
FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Samuel Coppersmith of Appleton is charged with 10 felonies for a crash on Interstate 41 that killed two people earlier this month.
Coppersmith, who doesn’t turn 21 until next week, is charged with two counts each of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle while having a prior intoxicant-related conviction; homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle with prohibited alcohol content while having a prior intoxicant-related conviction; homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle; knowingly operating a motor vehicle while suspended, causing death; and knowingly operating a motor vehicle while suspended, causing great bodily harm.
District Attorney Eric Toney tells Action 2 News the charges of homicide with a prohibited alcohol content could be dropped after further investigation.
Coppersmith is being held on $150,000 cash bond and will be in court on August 7.
The criminal complaint details on the night of July 19 Fond du Lac County deputies and other first responders were called to an SUV that flipped over on Interstate 41. They found one man lying in the road without a pulse. Another was found tangled in cable wires in the median, unconscious with fatal injuries. Two passengers survived -- a female who was found in a ditch five to 10 feet from the SUV and a male with serious facial injuries.
Smith was still buckled in the driver’s seat of the overturned SUV, unresponsive, and needed to be extricated by medical responders.
Liquor bottles and red Solo cups were scattered on the roadway.
The initial crash investigation showed the SUV was going north on I-41 when it hit gravel and pavement in the east ditch, rotated counter-clockwise and flipped, coming to rest on its passenger side. A witness who was passed by the SUV told deputies it accelerated in the left lane until it was tailgating a red minivan, then it turned too sharply into the right lane and fishtailed, hitting gravel then flipping over when it came back on the pavement. He believed the vehicle rolled four times and he saw at least three people thrown out.
The criminal complaint says the SUV was registered to one of the passengers who was injured.
Online court records show Coppersmith was convicted in April 2017 of OWI with a passenger under the age of 16. It was a misdemeanor.
Six months later, Coppersmith was charged with underage drinking in Outagamie County and was ordered to pay a fine after failing to appear in court.
More recently, records show Coppersmith was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol in Fond du Lac County on June 19.
Then, Coppersmith was charged with failing to install or tampering with an ignition interlock device in Winnebago County on June 30.
Driving privileges were suspended on July 8, according to the criminal complaint.
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