JUNEAU — A Dodge County jury found a 30-year-old Beaver Dam man not guilty of driving while impaired at the time of a fatal crash on Highway 151 last year.
Troy Kelm was driving a pickup truck on Aug. 17 that struck and killed Kayla Davis, 37, Beaver Dam, on Highway 151 north of Forest Road.
The jury deliberated for about 20 minutes Wednesday following a day of testimony before returning to the courtroom with the decision. Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Brian Pfitzinger issued a judgment of dismissal based off of the jury’s decision.
The preliminary investigation of the incident showed there was a two-vehicle crash in the northbound lane of the highway. Both vehicles were damaged and came to rest in the median. There were no injuries from that accident.
Davis had been driving a 2011 Ford Escape and stopped in the left lane of Highway 151 southbound to render aid. She left her vehicle and walked onto the median shoulder of the highway.
A 1999 Dodge Ram being driven south by Kelm swerved to avoid striking the Ford Escape and struck Davis. Davis was pronounced dead at the scene by the Dodge County Medical Examiner. Kelm was not injured.
Dodge County Assistant District Attorney Gilbert Thompson said to the jury of four men and one woman that they only had to determine if his ability to drive was hindered by the drugs in his body at the time of the crash.
Kelm had told deputies at the scene that he had smoked a small bowl of marijuana the night before, but Thompson said that was not found in his blood. The state crime lab found methadone and two medicines used to fight anxiety in his bloodstream, alprazolam and clonazepam.
“You have to focus on his ability to safely drive on the highway at the time he decided to go,” Thompson said.
Kelm’s lawyer Todd Snow said it was dark at the time of the crash at 5:15 a.m. and Kelm was driving to Madison to obtain methadone treatment from a clinic before going to work in Sun Prairie.
A methadone clinic is a place where a person who is addicted to opioid-based drugs, such as heroin or prescription painkillers, can receive medication-based therapy.
Snow said Kelm had a split second to make a decision and had three possible decisions to make: to slam into the illegally parked car, swerve into another one or take his vehicle off the road in order to avoid a collision.
“It was a split second decision that my client had to make,” Snow said. “If you say he made the right decision then you are done.”