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Manitowoc County Man Heading to Prison

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MANITOWOC, WI (WHBL) - An 18 year old Manitowoc County man will spend four years in prison for killing two 16 year olds in a one-vehicle crash.  Zachary Gauthier, of Whitelaw, must also spend 10 years under extended supervision when he’s no longer behind bars.  Gauthier pleaded no contest to two counts of homicide by negligent driving.  Authorities said he drove into to a tree at up to 85-miles-an-hour last March and killed two passengers – Zachary Zahn and Chelsie Harding, both 16 year old sophomores at Manitowoc Lincoln High School.  Several other cases were dropped in a plea deal.  They included driving a stolen vehicle, taking his mother’s prescription drugs, missing court appearances, and possessing child pornography.  The defense asked for five years of probation, but Circuit Judge Gary Bendix said he needed to send a message to young people about the consequences of reckless driving.  And the judge ordered Gauthier to tell that story himself to school groups after he gets out of prison.  He must also visit the victims’ graves.

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