Driver in triple-fatal gets 15 years

Ryan Swadner will also serve 30 years’ extended supervision

Ryan Swadner, the driver in a 2014 crash that claimed the lives of three passengers, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison and another 30 years’ extended supervision.

Swadner accepted a plea deal in October, just days before he was due to go to trial.

He pleaded no contest to three felony counts of vehicular homicide while under the influence of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of causing injury while operating under the influence of a controlled substance.

Felony counts of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and maintaining a drug trafficking place were dismissed but read into the record.

Swadner, 20, of Cecil, was accused of being under the influence of marijuana on Oct. 21, 2014, when he swerved to avoid another vehicle stopped in his path on state Highway 22 in the town of 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.

Swadner read a statement to the court Wednesday in which he apologized to the families.

The court also heard statements from the parents of the victims.

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 showed Swadner had marijuana in his system.

Defense attorney Nila Robinson had suggested at previous hearings that the trace amount of marijuana found in her client’s system could have been the result of secondhand smoke.