Keshena woman gets 8 years for manslaughter

Judge orders additional 4 years for aggravated assault
Kevin Murphy

A Keshena woman who, while drunk, drove into the path of an oncoming vehicle, killing one person and injuring another, was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 12 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

According to court documents, Erin D. Schweitzer, 43, aka Erin Martin, was speeding while driving in the Legend Lake area on April 18, 2019, when she crossed the road’s solid yellow centerline. Her car collided with a vehicle driven by William Beauprey in which Kenny Latender and Sharae Beauprey were passengers.

Latender died shortly after the accident, and Beauprey and Schweitzer sustained serious injuries.

Blood tests indicated Schweitzer had a 0.238% blood-alcohol concentration, nearly three times the prohibited limit. She admitted to smoking marijuana before the crash and tested positive for tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) after it.

Last November, she was indicted for involuntary manslaughter and two counts of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury. If convicted, she faced statutory maximum penalties of eight years imprisonment on the manslaughter charge and eight years on each assault charge.

Her case was set for trial on Jan. 30 but on Jan. 17, Schweitzer pleaded guilty to all three charges.

Schweitzer’s attorney, Thomas Erickson, asked District Judge William Griesbach for a sentence of 4½-5 years.

Erickson wrote the court that Schweitzer had told police that she drank excessively on a daily basis after her fiancé, Al Gristau, died several months before the crash. She called her crash “the biggest mistake” of her life.

She recognizes that she doesn’t cope well with the setbacks she has experienced, which include being physically abused by the men in her life and sustaining serious injuries in several car crashes beginning when she was 17.

She has been diagnosed with severe anxiety, has a history of panic attacks that have resulted in several hospitalizations. Although she drank for a short while after the 2019 crash as a means of escape, she has remained clean and sober the past few years.

Schweitzer is a good candidate for a prison drug treatment program and is in need of mental health counseling for her anxiety and most likely undiagnosed PTSD, Erickson wrote.

Unlike Erickson, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Maier and Timothy Funnell had not filed a sentencing memo with the court as of April 27.

In the plea agreement, the government recommended an eight-year sentence for Schweitzer.

Griesbach imposed an eight-year sentence on the involuntary manslaughter conviction and four years on each of the two aggravated assault convictions. The sentences for the assault convictions are to run concurrent to each other but consecutive to the manslaughter sentence.

Griesbach also placed Schweitzer on three years supervised release following her prison term.

Schweitzer has a pending charge in Marinette County of possession less than 3 grams of methamphetamine, which, Erickson wrote, isn’t likely to result in a prison sentence.

She has been in custody for the past few months, moving between the Dodge and Brown County jails for medical treatment.