Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Two drivers in fatal crash test positive for THC
Police: No evidence anyone was under influence at time of accident

by Steve Targo

May 30, 2013

LINN — Evidence of marijuana use was found in two of the three drivers involved in one of the town's worst traffic accidents in recent memory.

Charlie Bixler, 22, died in the Dec. 10, 2012, double-crash, which occurred at 7:52 p.m., after his vehicle was struck by two separate motorists on Linton Road, east of Highway B.

In a May 16 phone interview, Linn police officer James Bushey said recently completed toxicology reports show that Bixler and Jessica M. Matusek, 20, Antioch, Ill., had THC in their blood. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the principal chemical compound in marijuana.

However, Bushey said there was no evidence that Bixler or Matusek were under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.

Alcohol was not a suspected cause of the crash, Bushey said. None of the drivers are believed to have had alcohol in their bloodstreams prior to the crash.

Bushey said neither alcohol nor THC was detected in the third driver involved, Nancy Chapliciki-Sullivan, 43, Fontana.

On Dec. 18, 2012, Matusek was cited for possession of a controlled substance after they found a green, leafy substance that field tested positive for THC in her gray Mercury Sable. She had her 1-year-old son in the car at the time of the accident.

According to Bushey, police also discovered a substance believed to be marijuana inside a prescription pill bottle and a multicolored glass pipe inside the red Ford Taurus driven by Bixler.

In a February interview, Charlene Bixler Krueger — Charlie's mother — said she wasn't surprised to learn what police found in her son's vehicle.

Nor would have anyone else who knew him, Bixler Krueger said.

She said she didn't condone Bixler's marijuana use, but she would have been surprised if he had been under the influence at the time of the crash.

"He was on his way to work, and he took his job very seriously," Bixler Krueger said.

Bixler left behind a daughter, who was born Nov. 2, 2012.

The accident

Earlier this year, Bushey discussed the state patrol's report of the accident.

Bixler was driving a Ford Taurus west on Linton Road when he crossed the center line and struck Matusek's eastbound Sable.

A short moment later, the Taurus was struck by the westbound 2007 Saturn Ion being driven by Chapliciki-Sullivan.

Bushey said it appeared all the drivers involved were following the 55 mph speed limit.

"But at 55, you're coming to a dead stop in literally milliseconds, and it's a hard hit," he said.

After the first collision, the Sable traveled into a ditch south of Linton Road. It came to rest on its side. Matusek climbed out of the vehicle with her 1-year-old.

"Fortunately, they were lucky," Bushey said. "She got her child out of the car, crawled out the window and got back up to the road, where she just kind of laid down."

Matusek and her 1-year-old were taken to Froedtert Memorial Hospital, Wauwatosa.

She was flown via Flight For Life. Her son was transported by ambulance.

Matusek suffered minor injuries. Bushey said the boy was fine.

Chapliciki-Sullivan was taken to Mercy Walworth Medical Center and was checked for injuries. She was OK, Bushey said.

He also said she likely didn't see Bixler's Taurus in time to avoid a collision. Bushey said that area of Linton Road is very dark at night.