BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) — Action 2 News has learned the man believed to have caused a head-on crash in Brown County Wednesday morning was high on drugs, according to investigators.
Twenty-eight year old Michael Geurts was heading east on County Highway G in Ledgeview when authorities say he crossed the center line and hit a dump truck head-on.
Both drivers suffered injuries, but they were not life-threatening.
Geurts is now facing felony charges for the crash after prosecutors say he was high while driving.
Brown County Sheriff’s investigators believe Geurts was impaired when he got behind the wheel of the SUV and “may have dozed off,” according to statements in court records filed Thursday.
Prosecutors say he admitted to rescue workers that he used cocaine the night before the crash.
“We do suspect that there were drugs involved, so we’re doing a full drug panel to tell us exactly what drugs were in his system,” says Captain Dan Sandberg with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.
Those could take several weeks or longer to get back.
Court records show Geurts also had a pipe known for smoking meth, as well as nearly 14 grams of cocaine, inside his SUV.
It’s an amount large enough to charge him as a dealer.
The idea of people driving high on drugs is scary for investigators as they encounter it more and more.
So far this year, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office has cited 351 people for OWI, but that charge covers alcohol or drug impairment.
“There’s a combination. Alcohol is about 50 percent of the time. And the other 50 percent of the time, it’s those illegal drugs or prescription drugs,” says Sandberg.
Drugged driving is a concern because of when it can occur.
Wednesday’s head-on collision happened at 8:30 in the morning, on a typically busy road, as many people were heading to school or work.
Pictures taken by an Action 2 News employee show a school bus on that very road just minutes after the crash.
“You’ve always got to be prepared for it. It could happen anytime,” says Sandberg.
In this case, he says the dump truck driver did all he could to avoid the crash and cringes to think what could have happened to a smaller vehicle.
“That’s an extremely large vehicle that can take the impact much better than a regular vehicle, and he was still injured, and he (the dump truck driver) was wearing his seat belt.”
Court records show Geurts has two prior OWIs from 2012 and 2014 and wasn’t even supposed to be driving right now.
He now faces two additional felonies, including possession with intent to deliver cocaine and operating with a detectable amount of restricted controlled substance in blood causing injury.
He also is charged with misdemeanors, including a third offense operating with restricted controlled substance in blood, possession of drug paraphernalia and second offense operating a vehicle while revoked.
He’s being held on a $5,000 bond and is expected back in court next week.