By Shereen Siewert
Police say the driver in an August high speed crash in a Rib Mountain parking lot that killed a Wausau woman was high on a combination of drugs at the time he drove his vehicle into a tree.
Enrique Sanchez, 36, now faces homicide charges in connection with the crash. Charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, vehicular homicide by use of a controlled substance and first degree recklessly endangering safety were filed Oct. 31 in Marathon County Circuit Court.
Danielle Marie Dahlquist, 31, died in the Aug. 25 afternoon crash that happened in the parking lot of Kohl’s Department Store, 3600 Rib Mountain Drive.
Lab reports show Sanchez had Difluoroethane, caffeine, Cotinine, Benzolylecognine, and fentanyl in his bloodstream at the time of the crash. Difluoroethane, which is a recognized substance of abuse, is found in many commonly used consumer products and electronic cleaners including electronic duster spray, a can of which was discovered at the crash Benzoylecgonine is an inactive metabolite and chemical breakdown of cocaine.
The incident began in the drive-through of a nearby fast food restaurant, according to the police report. Investigators documented a shrub that had been ripped out by Sanchez’s vehicle and acceleration marks left in the drive-thru lane. Video captured at the restaurant showed Sanchez’s vehicle turn off the road and down an embankment between the service road and the drive-through before running over the shrubbery and accelerating northbound.
From there, Sanchez accelerated further, bottoming out at one point due to the high rate of speed, before sideswiping a concrete post and breaking off a tree. The vehicle went airborne and struck a concrete pillar, breaking off a metal light pole.
The Avalon also struck a second vehicle during the crash that was pushed into a third vehicle, police said.
Both Dahlquist and Sanchez were ejected from the Avalon. Emergency crews were called within one minute of the crash and arrived on scene three minutes later. Both victims were transported by ambulance to Aspirus Wausau Hospital, where Dahlquist died a short time later.
According to the crash report Sanchez was operating the vehicle in an “aggressive, reckless manner.” Initial reports did not suggest drugs or alcohol as factors in the crash. But that assessment changed based on blood test results taken a short time after the crash.
Neither occupant was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, police said.
Sanchez faces up to 92 years in the Wisconsin Prison System and up to $250,000 in fines if he is convicted on all three charges filed against him. He has several previous convictions for prior offenses including OWI, stalking, bail jumping, and knowingly violating a domestic abuse order.
Sanchez is due in court Thursday for an initial appearance on the charges.