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Driver charged in crash that left passenger impaled by post

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:47:49 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 12 2013 02:58:23 PM CST

Grant Hermes

Crash near Oakridge and Maple avenues

MADISON, Wis. -

Police said the Madison man driving in the crash that left a 20-year-old impaled by a fence post has been charged. 

The Madison Police Department said officers responded to the intersection of Oakridge and Maple avenues around 8:20 p.m. for reports of a car versus tree crash, Dane County dispatch said.

The vehicle came up Oakridge Avenue and hit a chain-link fence and then a tree, investigators said. A pole from the fence went through the windshield and into the passenger's left upper body.

The 7-foot piece of pipe entered the man just below his left arm pit and exited through his back with the pipe also penetrating the front seat back, according to a release from the Madison Fire Department. The extrication took 25 minutes and involved the use of a hydraulic cutting tool. He was taken to the UW Trauma Center with a section of pipe still in his body.

Police said speed and road conditions were factors in the crash.

The driver, Stephen J. Betz, 21, of Madison, was charged with reckless driving causing great bodily harm, according to the Madison Police Department. 

Police said at about midnight Wednesday that the 20-year-old was listed in stable condition.

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