2014-04-11 — Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Karen Seifert sentenced William Doemel, 58, to 17 years in prison followed by 10 years of extended supervision Thursday. In February, a Winnebago County jury found Doemel guilty of driving drunk on Dec. 15, 2012, and causing a crash that killed Robert Zentner, 80, and injured Phyllis Zentner.
“When people have been together and had a life together that long, it’s not unlike losing a limb,” Seifert said. “It’s a part of you that’s gone when you lose a spouse of that many years.”
According to the criminal complaint and court testimony, Doemel ran a stop sign at the intersection of county trunks I and N in the town of Nekimi, crossed the center line and crashed head-on with the Zentners’ vehicle. An analysis of his blood by the state crime lab showed Doemel had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.285 percent and he also had traces of marijuana in his blood.
Doemel said he does not remember the events leading up to the crash and claimed Thursday that he had not been drinking, but instead had lapsed into a diabetic coma the night of the crash.
Seifert said she did not buy the argument.
“You knew what your medical condition was and yet you still drove,” Seifert said.
Winnebago County Assistant District Attorney Adam Levin asked Seifert to order Doemel serve 17 years in prison for the convictions, while defense attorney Gary Schmidt argued for probation because it was “not a normal” drunken driving situation due to Doemel’s medical condition. ….MORE