Wrongful death suit filed in crash that killed 3 teens

Ryan Swadner, parents named as defendants
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The parents of two teens killed in a 2014 crash filed a wrongful death suit this week against the driver of the car and his parents.

Ryan Swadner, 20, swerved to avoid another vehicle stopped in his path on state Highway 22 in Belle Plaine and lost control on a gravel shoulder. The Ford Mustang he was driving crossed into the path of an oncoming sport utility vehicle and was hit broadside, according to the accident report.

Two Shawano Community High School seniors, 17-year-old Cody Borsche and 18-year-old Tyler Welch, were pronounced dead at the scene. A Bonduel High School sophomore, 15-year-old Paige Brunette, was transported to Shawano Medical Center for medical attention and later died.

The suit filed by Cody’s parents, Wayne and Wanda Borsche, and Tyler’s parents, Timothy and Janie Welch, asks for punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury, along with court costs and legal fees.

The suit alleges the crash was the result of Swadner’s negligence. It also notes allegations that Swadner may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but maintains that even without that factor, Swadner’s actions were reckless.

Swadner is accused in a criminal complaint of being under the influence of marijuana at the time of the Oct. 21, 2014, crash.

The civil suit also names Swadner’s mother, Shannon Broder, and stepfather, Robert Broder, as defendants.

The suit maintains that Robert Broder sponsored Swadner’s driver’s license application and is liable for any damages caused by Swadner’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Swadner and the Broders have 45 days to file a response to the suit.

Swadner is scheduled for a two-week jury trial in the criminal case starting Oct. 9.

He is charged with three counts of homicide by use of a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance and three counts of second-degree reckless homicide. Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

He is also charged with felony counts of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and maintaining a drug trafficking place in reference to the vehicle allegedly being used to traffic marijuana. The charges each carry a maximum 3 1/2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Swadner is also facing misdemeanor counts of causing injury while under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He is free on a $10,000 cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities found nearly 12 grams of marijuana in six plastic baggies in Swadner’s vehicle, along with the pieces of a glass pipe and a digital scale.

According to the complaint, Swadner told authorities he initially intended to loan his vehicle to Welch in exchange for marijuana on the day of the crash but later agreed to give Welch a ride.

The complaint alleges the vehicle was on its way to the state Highway 22/29 Shell station for “a narcotics transaction,” based on text messages included in the complaint that were exchanged with “Drug Customer D.”

Swadner told authorities Welch was making the drug transaction, and he was giving Welch a ride.

Lab results showing Swadner had marijuana in his system were presented at a preliminary hearing.

His attorney has suggested the trace amount of marijuana found could have been the result of secondhand smoke.