By Shereen Siewert

Homicide charges are expected later this month in an alcohol-fueled weekend rollover crash that left a Wausau man dead, according to police.

The crash happened at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Hwy. J near Roble Lane in the town of Weston.

According to the Everest Metro Police Department the driver, 21-year-old Heith A. Gureski, was arrested Sunday and is being held on preliminary charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. Police say Gureski, of Hatley, was driving north on Hwy. J after leaving a nearby tavern when he left the roadway, rolled his vehicle and struck several trees. Police estimate he was driving at a high rate of speed before the crash and say there were no skid marks.

A passenger in Gureski’s vehicle, 21-year-old Bryce Giles, died at the scene. No other vehicles or passengers were involved in the crash, police said.

Gureski, who has an open OWI case filed less than one month before the crash, has been ordered held on a $500,000 cash bond. He remains jailed as of late Monday.

Homicide by drunken driving now carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, the consequence of a November 2019 law signed by Gov. Tony Evers. The law does allow judges to impose a shorter sentence if there’s a compelling reason to do so, but the judge must explain that reasoning in detail in the public record.

Formal charges are expected on Nov. 23, when Gureski will again appear in court.