By Shereen Siewert

A 40-year-old Wausau woman will face felony charges after a crash that seriously injured a passenger after a night of drinking, according to court records.

Sara E. Kestly will be summoned into Marathon County Circuit Court to face charges of injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. She has also been cited for first-offense drunken driving and for refusal to take an intoxication test after an arrest.

Police say Kestly was with a friend for dinner and drinks the night of Oct. 17 and was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Equinox when she drove through the intersection of Hwy. Z and Prahl Creek Road and crashed into a large tree. Emergency crews arrived to discover Kestly unresponsive in the back seat.

A passenger, a 51-year-old woman, was still buckled into the passenger seat of the vehicle when crews arrived, police said. Both women were injured and were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Court documents show Kestly’s passenger suffered significant injuries including a traumatic brain injury and a broken tailbone. In addition, doctors were forced to remove a portion of her intestine, according to the criminal complaint.

Police say Kestly initially denied driving and refused to allow a chemical test of her blood, though a test was taken after a judge authorized a warrant. The results are pending.

Investigators then relied in part on receipts and witness statements to make their case including Kestly’s admission that she was drinking and should not have been driving, according to court documents.

The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 1/2 years in the Wisconsin Prison System and thousands of dollars in fines.

Kestly will appear in court Nov. 24 for an initial appearance, at which time a judge will set a bond amount. She is not in custody at this time.