In a press conference Thursday, Eau Claire's district attorney announced 25 charges against 23 year-old Michael Kozlowski, the driver of the overturned semi involved in the Chippewa Falls band bus crash. Charges include five counts of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle, 11 counts of reckless driving causing great bodily harm, all felonies..and 9 misdemeanor counts of reckless driving causing injury.
In the criminal complaint, the National Transportation Safety Board has concluded after reconstructing the accident that Kozlowski fell asleep behind the wheel.
Thursday morning, district attorney Rich White says he believes Kozlowski's conduct in the day and hours leading up to the incident resulted in the crash killed five people and injured many more.
"The issue isn't simply whether at that particular moment in time he did fall asleep," says White. "The issue is, is what took place that night considered criminal negligence considering everything about what occured."
The probable cause portion of the statement cites witness testimony that not only did Kozlowski spend Friday evening into Saturday morning drinking at a bar, but that two other drivers saw him driving erratically at varying speeds Saturday night.
White says investigations from both the state patrol and the NTSB were exhaustive and that no further criminal charges would follow. "Had I intedent to charge anybody else, they would have been charged in the criminal complaint."
Kozlowoski is being represented by attorney Earl Gray, who is based in the twin cities. In conversations through Gray, DA Rich White established that Kozlowski will appear in person for his initial court appearance, which is scheduled for January 31st in Eau Claire County court. He says having a defendent appear voluntarily is much faster than extradition process.