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15 years in prison for driver in fatal Holmen collision



Corey Bolstad enters court on Thursday, where he pled guilty to vehicular homicide and was sentenced to prison

A Viroqua man, who caused a fatal highway crash in 2017, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday in La Crosse County court.

Police said Corey Bolstad took meth and heroin before slamming his pumping truck into the car of 65-year-old Rebecca Berndt near Holmen, killing the retired teacher.

District attorney Tim Gruenke said the family is relieved to have the court case done. In court Thursday, they asked for the maximum prison sentence of 31 years for vehicular homicide.

Rebecca Berndt’s husband, Bill Berndt, said in court that “each new day that comes is another reminder of that tragic senseless day. I try to be strong for my kids and grandkids, but the struggle is overwhelming and the mental fatigue is endless. Why, why, why?”

The 36-year-old Bolstad said, “I am truly sorry. All I can do is win this fight with addiction, redeem myself, and make sure this never happens again.”

Judge Elliott Levine told Bolstad that nobody else is culpable for the fatal crash, and that the Berndt family has made him feel as if Becky “was everybody’s mom.”

The 15-year term will be served after Bolstad finishes prison time for a previous conviction.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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