Man who caused deadly daylight crash was 3.5 times over legal limit

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A wrong-way driver who caused a deadly crash near Dyckesville had a blood alcohol content of .287, according to the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Crash scene on Highway 57
Crash scene on Highway 57 in Dyckesville (WBAY photo)

That's about 3.5 times over the legal limit to drive in Wisconsin, which is .08.

On Wednesday, the Brown County Sheriff's Office received the blood test results on Todd Beyer, 38.

Officials say Beyer caused the deadly crash that happened Oct. 27, shortly before 2 p.m., on Highway 57. It's one of several deadly daylight crashes to happen in Brown County this year.

Investigators say Beyer was driving south in the northbound lanes when he hit another car. That car's destination was Door County for wedding.

There were four people in victims' car. Lynn Eckes and Ila Schabow died. Kristin and Kenneth Eckes were taken to a hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Lynn Eckes was the mother of the groom. Ila Schabow was the grandmother of the groom. Click here to hear from the pastor who officiated the Eckes wedding.

In Brown County, 2017 is the deadliest year on roads in a decade. Twenty-three people have died in 19 crashes. More than half of those crashes involve a wide variety of drugs or alcohol.

While looking into the numbers, Target 2 found a trend involving the number of deadly crashes happening in broad daylight.

"These fatal crashes aren't just occuring when our drunk drivers are traditionally out between 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock in the morning," says Capt. Dan Sandberg, Brown County Sheriff's Office. "We've got 10 o'clock in the morning; we've got 11:30; or 12 o'clock in the afternoon; 9:30 in the morning."

Target 2 found 63 percent of deadly crashes in 2017 in Brown County happened during daylight hours. Numbers were half that total in 2016.

Seven people died in crashes where the driver was drunk or high. The drugs include marijuana, cocaine, and meth.

The average blood alcohol content is more than twice the legal limit to drive.

"It's right up there with drugs and alcohol involvement is not wearing a seat belt," says Capt. Sandberg.

Despite a year-long campaign through a national pilot program, the rate of seat belt use is not improving, according to Capt. Sandberg.

Sandberg told us in 2016 that young drivers--ages 16-24--were the most non-compliant.

In 2017, it's been drivers in their 20s-to-40s.

"I'd like to think that probably somewhere up around eight or nine of those, for sure, would have survived if they would have been wearing their seat belts, if not all 10 of them," says Capt. Sandberg.

Wrong-way crashes continue to be a concern for law enforcement in Northeast Wisconsin. In January, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Brown County implemented an alert system that gives warnings to drivers when there's been a report of a wrong-way driver.

Target 2 Investigates dug into the numbers and found 52 reports of wrong-way drivers since the implementation of the system.

Click here for our Target 2 Investigates report on wrong-way drivers.

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