A former Marine has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Janet Bewley, 70-year-old Wisconsin Senate Democratic minority leader, for her involvement in a car accident that killed his 5-year-old daughter and her mother.
Brandon Fink filed the lawsuit Friday, nearly three months after his daughter Khaleesi Fink, 5, and her mother Alyssa Ortman, 27, were killed in the crash in Ashland, Wisconsin, on July 22.
Defendants in the lawsuit are Bewley, another driver Jodi Munson, 45, and three insurance companies.
Fink filed for a jury trial and is seeking damages in excess of $10,000.
His complaint alleges that Bewley, Munson and Ortman were all responsible for his daughter’s death.
He claims that Bewley failed to look good, ignored the right-of-way and drove in a distracted state, but claims that Munson and Ortman also failed to look out and maintain the correct speed while driving.
The accident happened while Bewley was being interviewed on the phone in her car and just a day after she had cataract eye surgery, she told the interviewer.
Khaleesi was pronounced dead at the scene, while her mother was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died. Now her father Fink has filed a lawsuit against all three women involved in the crash, including his daughter’s mother.
When Ortman’s car collided with Bewley’s, he shot down the highway and was hit by Munson
An Ashland police report, obtained by the Associated Press, says Bewley was distracted by her hands-free cell phone at the time of the July crash.
Fink argues in the lawsuit that Bewley was distracted while driving. He also accused his daughter’s mother, Ortman, of failing to control her vehicle, resulting in the death of their child.
Bewley’s spokesperson, Joey Huey, said she had no comment.
The accident occurred when Bewley, 70, pulled out of the Maslowski Beach parking lot in Ashland and ran into the path of a car driven by Alyssa Ortman, 27, according to Ashland Police.
Police said Bewley drove off a parking lot on Lake Superior’s beach around 12:30 a.m. on July 22 and into the path of a car driven by Ortman.
When Ortman’s car collided with Bewley’s, he shot down the highway and was then hit by another vehicle driven by Munson.
Five-year-old Khaleesi was pronounced dead at the scene. Her mother was transported to a nearby hospital, where she also died.
Ashland County District Attorney David Meany said his office has begun receiving law enforcement reports about the crash, but any decision on whether to prosecute the charges is pending a full review of the case.
It’s not clear how long that could take, he said.
Alyssa Ortman, 27, with her five-year-old daughter Khali. The couple were killed when their car was hit by the car of the Democratic minority leader in Wisconsin, Janet Bewley, and then a second car.
At the time, Fink called for justice for his daughter, saying the politician should be treated just like “everyone.”
Speaking to DailyMail.com, Fink said: “I found out that a senator killed my baby and they may not even file charges even though she was on the phone during the accident.
And had cataract surgery just the day before. I am furious and want this senator to go to trial and pay for what she did as everyone should.
“She can’t get away with this.”
Wisconsin Senate Democratic Minority Leader Janet Bewley said in an interview that happened when the accident happened that she had had eye surgery the day before.
It was later reported that Bewley was on the phone interviewing a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel intern at the time of the accident and the intern said she had just had cataract surgery the day before.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Bewley went silent mid-sentence during her telephone interview with her intern Ben Baker.
During the interview, she revealed that she had cataract surgery on Thursday, a day before the fatal wreck.
When asked by the interviewer if she was okay, Bewley said she was, but sounded shocked.
“Yes, I’m fine,” she said, “this is not a good accident.”
Khaleesi’s father, Brandon Fink, criticized Bewley for not contacting him after the crash
According to the Mayo Clinic and the American Optometric Association, patients are often advised not to drive for at least 24 hours after cataract surgery, which involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial one.
Some doctors even suggest not getting behind the wheel until a patient is given the green light in a follow-up appointment.
Ashland Police Chief Bill Hagstrom confirmed that Bewley was not injured in the crash and State Patrol was reconstructing the scene.
Hagstrom said, “We’ll sit down with them and go through everything to determine how it all happened.
‘Then we will forward everything to the public prosecutor, because it was a fatal accident.
Ortman was a licensed clinical medical assistant and spent the past four years working at Lincare, a company that provides respiratory therapy products and services to patients at home.
Fink paid an emotional tribute to his daughter, describing her as a “hilarious, outrageously beautiful and smart girl with a zest for life that touched so many.”
He added that Bewley had still not contacted him after the tragedy, despite her office making a statement.
He wrote: ‘You have enlightened my life and given me an ambition and drive that I never knew was possible.
“No matter what we just laughed at… my life feels so empty without that giggle.
“Nothing will make this right. Nothing will make me feel better and no, I don’t need anything.
“I was supposed to bring my daughter home here, to her house and hear crazy stories about vacation… instead I got calls from the funeral home.”