Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: Kallberg, Irons, Woodward, Billeb, Buss, Hillman, Jenkins
----Sources: Scrap book one: by Elsa Lange Hardrath & Dorthaleen Edwards Hardrath
Contributed by Halbert "Bud" Hardrath
CHARGES ‘AMAZE’ DRUNK DRIVING SUSPECT IN FATALITY
Wausau - A man accused of causing a fatal accident while driving drunk in a stolen vehicle sounded amazed to hear he was being arrested on a vehicular homicide charge, officers said.
A report from a Marathon County deputy sheriff quotes Kurt Irons as saying: "Dudes, it’s just a girl, man. It’s a girl, nothing but a girl."
Irons, 28, Unity, remained in the Marathon County Jail Thursday on a charge of homicide through the intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. Bail was set at $30,000.
Rhonda Kallberg, 37, Owen, died in the crash Wednesday. She was a passenger in a truck that was struck by the stolen pickup truck.
Irons is accused of taking a pickup truck from outside an Abbotsford bowling alley where he had been drinking, officers said.
Prior to the accident, Colby-Abbotsford police received several calls about Irons’ erratic driving, said Sgt. Harvey Woodward of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department. Several motorists had been forced off the road by Irons before the truck he was driving crashed into the Kallberg vehicle.
Off-duty Colby-Abbotsford policeman Chad Billeb said he saw a truck weaving at high speeds down Highway 13 near Colby.
"The high school had just let out and children were walking across Highway 13," as the truck sped through town, Billeb’s report said.
Witness said the truck passed a school bus and several cars stopped behind the bus’ flashing red lights just before the wreck, reports said. It crashed as Billeb phone police to report the driver.
Irons lost control of the vehicle, which skidded into a ditch, then veered across the road and slammed into the passenger-side door of the truck driven by Gregory D. Kallberg, 39, Owen, reports said.
When a motorist stopped to offer help, Irons ran up to the man, saying "I’ve got to get away. Please get me out of here," police said.
Irons "could not stand under his own power," Marathon County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jeremy Buss reported. "He had to be held up or he would have fallen."
When arrested, Irons repeatedly swore at officers and had to be shackled and strapped to the back set of a squad car, reports said.
"He showed no remorse at all. He was just a jerk," said Capt. Randy Hillman.
The accident occurred at about 3:40 p.m.
Irons appeared Thursday in Marathon County Circuit Court on charges of homicide by intoxicated use of motor vehicle, hit-and-run homicide, operating motor vehicle without the consent of the owner and two counts of recklessly endangering safety, all felony charges, according to the clerk of courts office.
The homicide charges carry a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
Irons showed no remorse when he appeared before Portage County’s Judge Robert Jerkins, a court clerk said.
"He had no reaction whatsoever, to anything," she said.
Irons also faces several traffic citations, the clerk said.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 20.
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