Enrique J. Sanchez, 36, of Wausau. Felony charges filed Oct. 31 include homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, vehicular homicide by use of a controlled substance, and first degree recklessly endangering safety.

By Shereen Siewert

The intoxicated driver in a high speed crash in a Rib Mountain parking lot that killed a Wausau woman will spend at least 10 years in prison, after his sentencing this month in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Enrique Sanchez, 37, learned his fate Dec. 22. In October, Sanchez was convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, a crime that carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence. Circuit Judge Greg Huber sentenced Sanchez to 10 years followed by 10 years extended supervision on the homicide charge after reviewing victim impact statements and a presentencing investigation.

Danielle Marie Dahlquist, 31, died in the Aug. 25, 2019 afternoon crash that happened in the parking lot of Kohl’s Department Store, 3600 Rib Mountain Drive. Sanchez, who was behind the wheel in the crash, 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, police said. 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 later, investigators said.

Charges were filed Oct. 31, 2019.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Huber ordered Sanchez to pay a $600 fine and maintain absolute sobriety. He will lose his driving privileges for five years.

Sanchez will receive 419 days credit for time served while awaiting trial.