Driver sentenced to 10 years in prison for deadly downtown Madison crash

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UPDATE (WKOW) — Gavin Veium, 22, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for the drugged driving homicide that killed another man.

Prosecutors say an SUV driven by 45-year old Diano McCullough burst into flames when it was rear-ended at high speed by Veium on John Nolen Drive in downtown Madison in June.

Veium told the court he was sorry for causing destruction and pain, and acknowledged he deserved a prison sentence.

“I know what I did was a terrible and extremely selfish act,” Veium said.  “I wish I could take things back or be the one who was taken that night.”

Veium’s attorney, Laura Breun said a previous, similar homicide case involving an impaired driver before presiding Dane County Judge William Hanrahan resulted in a three year prison sentence, and asked for a a similar sentence for Veium.

But Hanrahan noted Veium used the illegal drug LSD prior to the early morning collision, as opposed to the alcohol use in the previous case.

“You got behind the wheel of a car stoned out of your mind travelling at an extremely high rate of speed and you struck a stationary object,”  Hanrahan said.

Hanrahan also said Veium violated conditions of his bail at least three times as he awaited trial instead of trying to atone for his actions.

Assistant Dane County District Attorney William Brown maintained in a recorded, jail phone call by Veium before he released on bail, Veium schemed to hide inheritance money from what he believed could be a lawsuit from McCullough’s family members.

“I’m really disappointed in the fact that he would attempt to hide anything any kind of finances when there’s an eight year old child that’s left behind,”  McCullough’s niece Erica McCullough says, referencing her late uncle’s grade school son.

Breun said McCullough was also legally under the influence at the time of the collision with a blood alcohol level of .11, although Breun and others noted McCullough’s driving played no role in the crash.

Several family members testified McCullough was a dedicated father and a generous friend to many, including bus riders as a driver for Madison Metro.

“You killed a man who never picked sides,” McCullough’s daughter Rokeia Phillips said to Veium in court.  “You killed a man who bought lap tops and school supplies for children.”

McCullough’s mother, Eva Goodwin offered Veium forgiveness.

“I just wanted you to know there’s no hatred,” she said.  “I’m pretty sure you’re dealing with enough.”

Goodwin also offered Veium advice.

“Find God,” she said.

 

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MADISON (WKOW) – A Madison man was convicted of a drugged driving homicide as part of a plea agreement in connection to another’s driver death in a fiery collision on John Nolen Drive.

22-year old Gavin Veium Friday entered a plea of no contest to a charge of homicide by driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

At high speed, Veium slammed into the car of Madison Metro Bus driver Diano McCullough June 23, 2018, with both cars catching fire.  In addition to being influenced by a drug, Veium admitted to authorities he had also been drinking.

Assistant Dane County District Attorney William Brown revealed Friday Veium had two positive tests for alcohol in the last few days, in violation of his bail conditions.  Brown says Veium maintained the test results were due to him eating a dessert with alcohol as an ingredient.

“I find his explanation to be nonsense,”  Brown says.  “I tossed his weight and height into a calculator…it seems like he would have had to consume several drinks.”

“It makes me even…sadder that he’s continuing to abuse alcohol after he’s killed someone,”  the victim’s niece, Erica McCullough tells 27 News.

For the past four months, Veium’s been free after $2,500 bail was posted.  Judge William Hanrahan revoked Veium’s bail Friday.

Brown says there’s no agreement between Veium and prosecutors on a recommended sentence to Hanrahan.  The single, felony charge Veium’s convicted of carries a maximum sentence of twenty-five years.

“I’m just hoping that I can remain confident in our justice system to deliver justice,” says McCullough, who believes Veium should receive a significant prison term.  “I know that Wisconsin is not usually a state that’s big on DUIs (driving while under the influence).  We give a lot of chances.”

Tony Galli

Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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