Driver charged with OWI homicide for I-41 fatal crash

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A Green Bay man accused of a crash on Interstate 41 Sunday that killed a man from Colorado is charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, causing injury while operating under the influence, and refusing to take a test for intoxication after arrest.

Bond was set at $20,000 cash for Shay Smyser, 29, as he appeared in Brown County court Monday afternoon.

Investigators believe Smyser was driving south on I-41 when he lost control just south of Scheuring Road. He hit a man standing by a car stopped on the shoulder, killing 62-year-old Gary Steven Schuller, of Colorado.

The crash happened just before noon Sunday. Traffic was at a standstill for hours.

According to the criminal complaint, Smyser told officers he was driving "a little faster than he usually does" and "the next thing he knew, he was in a ditch."

His passenger told investigators it appeared Smyser didn't know I-41 narrows from three lanes to two, and first braked to get behind a vehicle in the next lane, then accelerated to get ahead of it. He described the tires going into the gravel, and the car doing a complete 360-degree spin as it went across the lanes of traffic and into the ditch. He didn't see Smyser in the driver's seat anymore and got out to look for him, and realized after he saw a body that they'd hit another car.

Rescue crews say it appeared Smyser was ejected from the seat of his car. He was treated at a hospital, where officers say he refused to have his blood drawn to be tested for alcohol, so a search warrant was obtained.

A woman who witnessed the crash guessed Smyser was going 95 miles an hour by the way his car flew past her. She said the victim was outside of his car, standing on the gravel on the shoulder, when Smyser's car hit him.

The OWI homicide charge carries up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Smyser's next court date is May 2.



 
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