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Man sentenced to life in prison for death of three linemen

A press release from the State Attorney office said Goedtke admitted to hitting three linemen with his truck towing a U-Haul, then running away. (WJHG/WECP)
A press release from the State Attorney office said Goedtke admitted to hitting three linemen with his truck towing a U-Haul, then running away. (WJHG/WECP)
Published: Jan. 24, 2020 at 10:15 AM CST
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[UPDATE: 1/27/2020 at 11:53:50 AM]

On January 27th, John Goedtke was given four life sentences in the death of three linemen.

Goedtke was driving under the influence of drugs when he hit and killed three linemen on October 24th, 2018. The linemen Ryan Barrett, 22, George Cesil, 52, and James "Bo" Ussery, 61, were working to restore power after Hurricane Michael. Goedtke drove away from the scene and was arrested six miles away.

“Our hearts were broken that night in October,” Sheriff Kevin Crews said. “These men were working around the clock to restore any sense of normalcy they could for our community and their lives were literally ripped out from underneath them. We have and will continue to grieve as a community since this tragedy. We can only hope today brings a sense of closure. We would like for the Barrett, Cesil, and Ussery families to know that our doors, and our hearts, are always open to them.”

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[ORIGINAL STORY]

According to the State Attorney's Office, John Goedtke entered a no contest plea on January 23rd to three counts of DUI Manslaughter, one count of Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death, and one count of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked.

A press release said Goedtke admitted to hitting three linemen with his truck towing a U-Haul, then running away.

The crash happened on October 24, 2018. Four linemen were working to restore electricity after Hurricane Michael north of Wausau. Ryan Barrett, 22, George Cesil, 52, and James "Bo" Ussery, 61, were standing under power lines while Robert Morgan was working above them in a bucket truck.

Goedtke was driving and swerved to pass a line of cars. He lost control and drove into the three linemen on the side of the road.

Goedtke then ran away but was found six miles away.

George Cesil, Ryan Barrett, and Bo Ussery died from their injuries in the crash.

Officials say Goedtke had enough methamphetamine and amphetamine in his blood to impair him.

Goedtke is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, January 27th, and faces a minimum of approximately 34 years in prison and a

maximum of life.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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