A Janesville man has been charged for an alleged DWI crash in March, which led to frostbite and eventual amputation of a passenger’s fingers and toes.
Justin Lynn Miller, 33, of Janesville, is charged with two counts of felony criminal vehicular operation and two counts of misdemeanor DWI. According to the complaint, his female passenger was left trapped in the vehicle during a 35-below wind chill, as Miller went for help after reportedly rolling his truck on a rural road halfway between Janesville and Waseca.
On March 3, a nearby neighbor to the crash told police that he was sleeping when Miller walked into his house yelling for help. Miller reportedly told the neighbor that he rolled his vehicle with a female passenger inside, and they needed help due to the cold.
A Waseca County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived on scene and found the vehicle on its side, according to the complaint. He found the female passenger near the bed of the truck, wearing a tank top, jeans and simple sneakers. She was reportedly incoherent, lethargic and “obviously” experiencing hypothermia, unable to move or respond. When asked to show here hands, the deputy reportedly observed severe frostbite in many fingers, possibly frozen all the way through.
The passenger was covered in blankets, as officers awaited Emergency Medical Services. She was eventually taken by ambulance to the local emergency room and later airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Officers examined Miller for suspected intoxication using the horizontal gaze test and reportedly found six of six signs for nystagmus, a vision condition associated with alcohol intoxication. They then executed a blood draw, which later revealed a reported blood alcohol content level of .12. The test was taken after a saline drip, and investigators believe the BAC would’ve been much higher if taken earlier, according to the complaint.
The passenger had all of the toes on her left foot amputated and fingers on both hands. Miller was also taken to the hospital for treatment of mild frostbite and hypothermia.