Family of man hurt in hit and run crash file lawsuit against driver

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)--The family of a man seriously hurt in a hit and run is filing a civil lawsuit against the suspected driver in the crash.

Zachary Kerska and his wife, Shannan, filed the suit against 49-year-old Angela Barthen for about $5,000 in damages.

According to the criminal complaint, in early May, police say Zachary Kerska was walking on Seymour Road when he was hit by Barthen. Kerska was taken to the hospital with a skull fracture and went into a coma.

Barthen was charged earlier this month with hit and run causing great bodily harm and O.W.I. causing injury.

Police say she fled the scene after the crash. She went to the police department three days later, saying she got into an accident, thinking she hit a deer, and didn't stop.

She told police she had three drinks before the crash, but bar surveillance video showed she had seven.

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - Nearly three months after an Eau Claire man was hit by a car and fractured his skull, a woman has been charged in the case.

Forty-nine year old Angela Barthen of Eau Claire was charged Thursday with Hit and Run Causing Great Bodily Harm and O.W.I. Causing Injury after police said she hit Zach Kerska on Seymour Road and fled the scene.

“I don't think it's getting done quick enough, but I’m glad something is getting done finally,” Kerska’s wife, Shannan Kerska said.

“It was pretty hard seeing her and not saying anything at all, but I’m just glad she showed up to court.”

Court records said with snow covering the sidewalks, Zach Kerska was seen walking on Seymour Road in early May.

Witnesses found him lying face down in the road, bleeding from the head and they told police the vehicle headed west, without stopping.

Kerska was taken to the hospital with a skull fracture.

Three days later, Angela Barthen went to the police department saying she got into an accident, thinking she hit a deer, and didn't stop, according to the complaint.

It said she told police she had three drinks before the crash, but surveillance video from the Idlewild bar showed she had seven.

Thursday, after being charged, Barthen was released on a signature bond.

“That was a little upsetting that he gets to be here and has to work so hard to become what he was before and she gets to be out doing whatever she wants as long as she's not drinking,” Shannan said.

After six surgeries, Zach Kerska is still at Sacred Heart hospital and can't talk or walk. He wrote on an Ipad that he remembered being in the ambulance, and is in some pain.

“He just wants her to realize what she has done to him, that she almost killed him,” Shannan Kerska said.

“I just hope that she realizes, like he said, what she did and that it wasn't something little. She did mess up his life quite a bit. But I just hope she gets a little jail time and at least realizes what she did to him.”

Thursday both Barthen and her lawyer declined to comment on the case. If convicted, Barthen could face up to sixteen years in prison.

Shannan Kerksa thanked police for their efforts in the investigation and hospital staff for aiding Zach in his recovery.


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