The accident happened around 12:30 AM on County Highway LS, near Silver Creek Road. The driver has been identified as 18-year-old Zachary S. Gauthier of Whitelaw. Gauthier was driving north in a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. He lost control of the vehicle, drove into a ditch and ran into a large tree.
Gauthier was taken by ambulance to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay. The extent of his injuries has not been revealed.
Two passengers were in the car at the time of the crash. Zachary D. Zahn and Chelsie M. Harding were both 16-year-old sophomores at Lincoln High School in Manitowoc. Both passengers were airlifted from the crash scene by helicopter. Harding was pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital in Wauwatosa; Zahn was pronounced dead at St. Vincent Hospital.
Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann says the posted speed limit in the area of the crash is 35 miles an hour. He told reporters, “From the initial look at the damage to the vehicle it looks like the vehicle was traveling faster than the posted speed limit.” None of the teenagers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, he reports.
The Sheriff’s Department is continuing their investigation of the crash, aided by the Manitowoc County coroner’s office and Wisconsin State Patrol.
Manitowoc County Circuit Court records show that Gauthier, the driver of the car, had been fined for speeding in 2010 and was charged in February with possessing a controlled substance (Vyvanse), a misdemeanor offense.
During a hearing in Manitowoc County Circuit Court on Friday, Gauthier was charged with two felony counts relating to the fatal accident. Among the charges is one for operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. The Grand Am Gauthier was driving belongs to the parents of Zachary Zahn, the male passenger killed in the crash.
Bail has been set at $10,000 cash.
The motor vehicle accident lawyers and staff at Hupy and Abraham extend our condolences to the Zahn and Harding families.