RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (WTAQ) - A Racine County woman was sentenced to 2-and-a-half years in prison Monday for the drunk driving death of an accomplished tri-athlete.
45-year-old Janell Gehrke of Franksville must also spend another 2-and-a-half years under extended supervision for striking 2 bicyclists at up to 50 miles an hour in July of 2008.
The crash killed 48-year-old Nancy Sellars of Franklin, who completed the Ironman Triathlon and the American Birkebeiner ski race – and had just finished cycling’s Race Across America.
Her training partner, 67-year-old Thomas Chopp, was in a wheelchair for 3 months following the crash – and he said he’ll never lose the emotional scars. Gehrke had up to 5 beers and a Bloody Mary just before the crash. She was also under the influence of a drug she took for attention deficit disorder.
In court Monday, Gehrke told Chopp and Sellars’ widower that the guilt overwhelms her – and she wishes she would have died instead of Sellars. Gehrke had never been arrested before. She worked at a Milwaukee auto mart for 2 decades, volunteered for charities, and cared for her sick mother.