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Man gets two years in jail for fatal crash
[January 16, 2013]

Man gets two years in jail for fatal crash

Jan 16, 2013 (The Leader-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- CHIPPEWA FALLS -- A Milwaukee man who killed his best friend in a drunken-driving crash in June 2010 on Highway T in Chippewa County was ordered today to serve two years in jail.

James C. Heath, 28, avoided a longer prison sentence because he had no prior record and hadn't violated terms of his probation, said Chippewa County Judge Steve Cray.

Heath and his friend, Shawn M. Sillman, 26, left a wedding rehearsal dinner at 29 Pines restaurant at 2:30 a.m. on June 12, 2010. Heath's southbound vehicle on Highway T hit the rear of a semitrailer truck, bounced off of it, and spun into the north-bound lane, where it struck another car head-on. Sillman was pronounced dead at the scene.

"My initial reaction was to issue a prison sentence," Cray said.

However, Sillman's mother requested that Heath not serve a prison sentence. Heath will serve one year in jail for causing Sillman's death, along with two six-month sentences for injuring Lance A. Girard of Chippewa Falls and Ashley M. Stobb of Colfax, for a total of two years in jail.

Heath will not have Huber work-release privileges for the first four months of his sentence. He must report to jail by 7 p.m. Jan. 23, giving him a week to line up serving his sentence in Milwaukee rather than in Chippewa County.

The Wisconsin Crime Lab determined that Heath had a .13 blood alcohol content.

Vetter can be reached at 723-0303 or

___ (c)2013 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.) Visit the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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