Wausau Pilot & Review
A Wausau-area mother who was given a second chance by a judge after her child died while she was high on methamphetamine will spend two years in prison after a head-on collision that prompted an OWI charge.
Marathon County Sheriff’s deputies say 40-year-old Jessica Kasten, of Edgar, fled into a cornfield after her Nissan Rogue was struck by a pickup at about 11:40 a.m. Friday, Oct. 29. The crash was reported on County Road M in the town of Cleveland.
A man driving the pickup said the woman driving the Nissan, later identified as Kasten, ran across the road and into the field after learning he had contacted police. When deputies arrived they discovered bottles of liquor in the vehicle, according to court records.
Police used a drone to locate Kasten, who allegedly said she ran “because she didn’t want to go to prison, even though the crash was not her fault.” When questioned, Kasten allegedly showed a deputy anti anxiety pills she was carrying and asked the deputy if he would “throw it into the corn and not charge her with it.”
The deputy declined. Kasten was transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Kasten faced charges filed Nov. 1 in Marathon County Circuit Court of hit and run causing injury, fourth-offense drunken driving, possession of a controlled substance, operating while revoked and bail jumping. As part of a plea agreement, Marathon County Reserve Judge Jill Falstad sentenced Kasten to two years in prison on the drunken driving charge and nine months in jail on the hit-and-run charge. All other charges were dismissed but read into the record.
In a prior case,Kasten was sentenced to 10 years probation in April 2008 after she pleaded no contest to child neglect causing the death of her 6-month-old baby in 2007. The mother told investigators she slept for about 18 hours after taking methamphetamine. The baby died of asphyxiation in a bassinet.
Months later Kasten, then 26, was arrested by Everest Metro Police and cited for drunken driving. Records say her two children, ages 2 and 3, were in the vehicle. As a result, her probation was revoked and she was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by 10 years of extended supervision. She remained on supervision at the time of her latest arrest, and her latest petition for a sentence adjustment was denied in 2019.
During a plea hearing last month on the latest charges, Judge Falstad ordered Kasten to spend three years on extended supervision following her eventual release from prison and to maintain absolute sobriety. Her driving privileges are revoked for three years.