The driver that struck two members of a hunting party in Taylor County, killing one of them, was more than twice the legal blood alcohol limit. James Winchel, 42, of Sheldon has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. He was in court yesterday for that charge and three other felonies related to the November 29th incident that killed 50-year-old Juan Salinas of Roscoe, Illinois. Investigators say his blood alcohol level was .196.
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer declined to modify Winchel’s $50,000 cash bond to allow him to go into substance abuse treatment. This is Winchel’s fifth drunk driving case since 1998.
Court records say Winchel was traveling on a narrow rural road at about 50 miles per hour when he struck Salinas, and forced other members of Salinas’ hunting party to jump to safety.
If convicted, Winchel could spend 25 years in prison. He will be back in court March 14th.
Larry Lee, WSAU