OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Wisconsin Democrat Minority Leader Janet Bewley was involved in a fatal car crash on July 22 that resulted in the deaths of two people. The prominent Democrat was on the phone with a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter when she pulled into the path of an oncoming car, killing a 27-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter.
Bewley is waiting to learn her fate as Ashland County District Attorney David Meany is still considering whether anyone will be criminally charged in connection to the fatal crash she was involved in.
“Authorities said Alyssa Ortman, 27, and her daughter Khaleesi, 5, were killed when their car collided with Bewley’s car on July 22 in Ashland and then spun into an SUV. The victim’s family members have said the mother and daughter traveled from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to visit relatives,” local news outlet WQOW reported.
Making matters even worse, Bewley had cataract eye surgery the day before the crash.
During an August interview with State Patrol Sgt. Michael Marquardt, Bewley said any ill effects of cataract eye surgery she underwent the day before the collision was gone on the day of the crash. The Democrat maintained that there was no issue with her eyesight.
She also said she was being interviewed over the phone by a reporter at the time of the collision. Bewley said she was participating in the interview hands-free, and her driving was not affected by the ongoing interview.
State Patrol officials announced last month Ortman’s car was traveling 100 miles per hour. Even with that speed involved by one of the drivers, Ashland County District Attorney David Meany said he’s come to no decision on whether Bewley or the other surviving driver will be criminally charged.
“I’m still reviewing the investigative reports and awaiting the remaining toxicology report,” Ashland County District Attorney David Meany said.
At the time of the collision, Bewley was Senate Minority Leader. She did not run for re-election after serving eight years in the Senate and four previous years in the state assembly.
The Democrat will leave office in January and is facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of the child victim.
“Bewley, a Democrat who represents a district that covers the northwestern part of the state, pulled into the path of a car driven by 27-year-old Alyssa Ortman of Pennsylvania, according to police in Ashland, Wisconsin. When Ortman’s car collided with Bewley’s, it spun and was hit by another vehicle driven by 45-year-old Jodi Munson,” USA Today reported back in July.
“Ortman’s 5-year-old daughter was pronounced dead at the crash scene. Ortman was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died, according to police,” the outlet added.
USA Today added:
Ben Baker, a reporting intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network, was on the phone with Bewley at the time of the crash on Friday afternoon for an interview he had arranged with her staff about this fall’s elections for the Legislature.
Shortly after the interview began, Bewley told Baker she had cataract eye surgery the day before. Minutes later, she stopped talking mid-sentence and the call went silent. When Baker asked Bewley if she was still on the line, she sounded concerned. When Baker asked if she was OK, she said, “Yeah, I’m OK. This is not a good accident.”
“We’ll be sitting down with them and going over everything as far as determining how it all actually happened,” Ashland Police Chief Bill Hagstrom said. “Then we’ll forward everything to the district attorney for their review because it was a fatal accident.”
Alyssa Ortman, 27, and her 5-year-old daughter Khaleesi Fink died after a car crash in Ashland involving Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley
— JSOnline – NewsWatch (@js_newswatch) July 26, 2022
Update on Senate minority leader Janet Bewley, who cut off another driver resulting in the death of a 5 year old girl.
She was driving, while doing a phone interview, the day after having cataract surgery.
Let that simmer. https://t.co/XuFZxcDjxC
— Rangermonk (@rangermonk1) July 27, 2022
Wisconsin's state Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley was involved in a fatal car crash that left a mother and her 5-year-old daughter dead. https://t.co/7bbRgND9VU
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 26, 2022
The outlet continued:
The accident occurred on Friday just before 12:30 p.m. after Bewley pulled out of a Lake Superior beach entrance and into the path of a car driven by Alyssa Ortman, according to the Ashland Police Department. When Ortman’s car collided with Bewley’s, it spun across Highway 2 and was hit by another vehicle.
Ortman’s 5-year-old daughter was pronounced dead at the crash scene. Ortman was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died, according to police. Hagstrom said Bewley was not taken to the hospital.
“This is a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the individuals involved, their families, and their loved ones,” Bewley’s office said in a statement to Fox News. “Senator Bewley, who was not seriously injured in the accident, wants to thank all the dedicated law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who helped in the aftermath of the accident.”