By Shereen Siewert

Prosecutors are still deciding whether to file charges against a 53-year-old Merrill man who was behind the wheel in a crash that killed one man and injured three other people.

Seven months after the crash, Marathon County District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon on Wednesday told Wausau Pilot and Review her office’s investigation is ongoing. A charging decision is expected in early 2018.

The crash happened just before 6:15 p.m. on May 17 on a stretch of Hwy. W near the intersection of Hwy. WW. According to the police report obtained by Wausau Pilot and Review, Doug R. Stone was driving north in a Ford Mustang GT when he turned into the driveway of a tavern and into the path of an oncoming vehicle driven by 20-year-old Kaleb Tesky of Merrill.

A passenger in Stone’s vehicle, 75-year-old Ernest Paul Elliott of Wausau, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stone, along with another passenger, 52-year-old Linda Stone, were seriously injured in the crash and were transported to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment of their injuries, police said. Tesky was also injured in the crash.

Police suspect Doug Stone had been drinking before the crash, according to the report, but toxicology results have not yet been made publicly available.

Homicide by drunken driving is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. But drivers with a prior OWI conviction face up to 40 years in prison if they are convicted. Online court records show Doug Stone had also been charged with first offense drunken driving in a separate incident five weeks before the fatal crash. That case remains open.

Wetzsteon said she expects to make a charging decision by early 2018.