JUNEAU – A 36-year-old Beaver Dam man was sentenced to spend 21 and a half years in prison for causing a fatal three-vehicle crash in 2019 while driving under the influence.
Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Martin De Vries sentenced Dustin Vandergalien to 21.5 years in prison with 19 years of an extended sentence.
Vandergalien was found guilty in June of homicide by vehicle – use of controlled substance second or subsequent offense, use of a vehicle with controlled substance in blood causing great bodily harm and operating with a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in blood causing injury as a second or subsequent offense.
“The defendant did not just engage in a failed passing maneuver,” Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said in a press release. “He had the sun to his rear, no obstructions in his view and the visibility on this flat, straight stretch of highway is among the best in the county. He had to see the vehicles coming, yet remained in their lane for nearly the lengths of two football fields, possibly more. The defendant’s behavior was reckless and showed utter disregard for human life.”
Vandergailen’s blood results showed a metabolite of cocaine and that he had been drinking before the crash, according to the press release .Vandergailen has two previous convictions for Operating While Intoxicated.
Vandergalien was driving a 2008 Chrysler 300 sedan around 6:40 p.m., July 30, 2019, on Highway E near Swan Road. According to the criminal complaint, Vandergalien crossed the center line and struck a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox headed in the opposite direction. The Chrysler then struck a 2007 Ford Focus that had been behind the Equinox.
Gavin Rivas, 22, Orfordville, died following the crash.
Rivas was a front-seat passenger in the Ford, which was driven by Blake Mejaki, 21, of Mayville. Mejaki was flown from the scene by U.W. Med Flight to University Hospital in Madison with injuries that were not life-threatening. Dustin Frederick, 22, Iron Ridge, and a 16-year-old Mayville girl, who were passengers in the back seat of the Ford, were both taken to Aurora Summit Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.