Negligent homicide charge filed in fatal crash

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Suspect rear-ended a car waiting to turn

Times Herald Staff

The driver who apparently caused a fatal three-car accident in September has been charged with homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Bernard A. Poradek, 31, of Mountain, has been ordered to make his initial appearance in Oconto County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. April 12.

Poradek was the driver of a car that rear-ended a vehicle driven by Robert Lusardi, 30, of Suring, pushing the vehicle into the path of an oncoming Jeep Wrangler. Lusardi was killed, and a passenger in the Jeep was airlifted to an area hospital with serious injuries.

According to the criminal complaint, Lusardi and Poradek were driving south on state Highway 32 in the town of Breed the afternoon of Sept. 29, when Lusardi stopped to make a left turn into Rhode’s Oasis.

Poradek told Oconto County Sheriff’s deputies at the scene that he looked down to change the radio station in his car, and when he looked back up he saw Lusardi’s car but didn’t have time to brake, the complaint said.

Traveling at more than 60 mph, he struck the stopped car, which spun into the opposite lane and into the path of the Jeep driven by Kevin Wachtendonk, 42, of Suring. Lusardi was pronounced dead at the scene, and Wachtendonk’s 19-year-old daughter, Felicia, was taken to the hospital by the Eagle III rescue helicopter.

The charge against Poradek is a Class G felony, which is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years and/or a fine up to $25,000.