By Shereen Siewert

A 21-year-old Hatley man who drove drunk in a November crash near Wausau will spend five years in prison, after his sentencing Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Heith A. Gureski was convicted in May on a charge of homicide by drunken driving. Gureski’s passenger, Bryce Giles, 21, died in the crash. The prison term is the minimum required under recently-passed legislation in Wisconsin.

The crash was reported in the early morning hours of Nov. 15 in the area of County Road J and Roble Lane in the town of Weston. Initially, dispatchers were told there were two people traveling in the vehicle with the rollover crash happened; one person was trapped inside but the passenger was not located. Witnesses then found Giles, the passenger, pinned under the truck and non-responsive. Eight bystanders were at the scene when officers arrived.

Witnesses told police Gureski and Giles arrived at a tavern on County Road J earlier in the evening and stayed until the bar closed, then left in Gureski’s vehicle. Gureski was allegedly driving to Giles’ home when the crash happened.

Giles was pronounced dead at the scene. Gureski was transported to Aspirus Wausau Hospital for treatment but was not seriously injured, police said.

During an interview, Gureski told police he was driving about 55 mph when his wheels hit the shoulder and he left the roadway, according to court documents, but could not give a specific answer regarding how many drinks he had in the roughly five hours he was at the bar.

Circuit Judge Suzanne O’Neill also ordered Gureski to spend five years on extended supervision following his eventual release from prison.