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Beaver Dam man to spend year in jail for 2016 fatal crash
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Beaver Dam man to spend year in jail for 2016 fatal crash


A 60-year-old Beaver Dam man will spend the next 12 months in jail and 10 years on probation for the 2016 car crash that caused the death of Freddie O. Nelson of Beaver Dam.

John Hammen appeared before Sheboygan County Circuit Court Judge Kent Hoffmann who also imposed and stayed an eight-year prison sentence that would be broken up in four years of initial confinement and four years of an extended sentence. He has terms and conditions for his probation that include absolute sobriety.

Hammen was found guilty of homicide by use of a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration in September after entering a no contest plea to the charge. Two additional charges in the case were dismissed.

Hammen’s last previous conviction of driving while intoxicated was a fourth offense in 2006, which was considered a misdemeanor at the time.

Hammen owned Beaver Dam bar Johnny’s Lounge at the time of the crash.

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Hammen crashed his 2001 Dodge Viper while driving more than 100 mph in Sheboygan County on Sept. 16, 2016. A passenger in his car, Nelson, died from injuries suffered in the crash.

Nelson was described in his obituary as a a caring spirit who offered care for his parents prior to his death.

According to the criminal complaint, Hammen veered off the road at more than 100 mph on County Road SS, east of Wisconsin 28 in the Sheboygan County town of Sherman. The car struck a culvert and went airborne for more than 100 feet, landing in a grassy area and sliding into several trees.

Nelson had to be extracted from the vehicle with the Jaws of Life. He was transported by helicopter from the scene to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

The sentencing comes weeks after Dodge County Circuit Courts ruled in favor of the city of Beaver Dam in court cases over the Common Council’s refusal to renew the liquor license for Johnny’s Lounge.

Plaintiff Amanda Hammen, Johnny Hammen’s wife, filed two lawsuits against the city in 2019, first after the Common Council voted to suspend her business licenses, and later when the council voted against renewing them under the city’s demerit point system. The council took the vote at police recommendation following a string of incidents at the bar, including alleged underage presence, fights and a fatal car crash.

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