Man charged in 2014 fatal crash in Douglas County makes court appearance
An Ashland man facing a vehicular homicide charge dating back to 2014 made an appearance in Douglas County Circuit Court earlier this month. Derek Lee Nelis, 46, faces a charge of homicide by vehicle. The criminal complaint alleges that he was dr...
An Ashland man facing a vehicular homicide charge dating back to 2014 made an appearance in Douglas County Circuit Court earlier this month.
Derek Lee Nelis, 46, faces a charge of homicide by vehicle. The criminal complaint alleges that he was driving under the influence of methamphetamine when he was involved in a two-vehicle crash Aug. 16, 2014, on U.S. Highway 2 in the town of Maple.
His passenger, 18-year-old Gabrielle Bresette of Ashland, was killed in the crash.
According to the complaint:
Nelis was driving west on the highway at about 5:15 a.m. when the 2008 Ford Focus he was driving crossed the center line into eastbound traffic and hit a logging truck. An investigation by the Wisconsin State Patrol indicated Nelis increased his speed about 4 mph in the seconds leading up to the collision and never applied the brakes.
Nelis allegedly told investigators that his car had started to wobble, jerk and make noises. He said that just before the crash, the car "shimmied" and "jerked hard," taking him into the oncoming lane. Nelis denied consuming any drugs or alcohol, and voluntarily gave a blood draw.
The blood test revealed that Nelis had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his system when the crash occurred, the complaint states, and investigators found drug paraphernalia in the car.
Nelis also is facing three felony bail jumping charges in Douglas County related to a 2016 incident in Ashland County. He was in court on Aug. 4 for a hearing on the Douglas County cases.
Nelis remained in the Douglas County Jail on Saturday; cash bail was set at $25,000 to cover both cases. His next court appearance is set for Aug. 21.
Since the 2014 incident, Nelis has been convicted of possession of narcotic drugs, two counts of possession of methamphetamine and two counts of felony bail jumping in Ashland County Circuit Court.
At a hearing earlier this month in Ashland County, Nelis' probation was revoked and he was sentenced to 280 days of jail, according to online court records. Sentencing on three of the charges - possession of methamphetamine and two counts of felony bail jumping - was withheld earlier this month pending the outcome of the Douglas County cases.