23-year-old John French was also told to spend seven years under extended supervision when he leaves prison. French struck a plea deal in which he would have been given nine years in prison for a three-vehicle mishap on December 6th of 2010 that killed 32-year-old Robert Walker of the town of Saratoga, south of Wisconsin Rapids. Wood County Circuit Judge Todd Wolf added a year to the sentence, saying anything less than 10 years would have diminished the seriousness of the crime.
According to authorities, French blew past a stop-sign at Highways 73 and “Z” south of Rapids, when another driver tried but failed to avoid French’s S-U-V. The French vehicle then swung and hit another S-U-V driven by Walker, who was ejected despite wearing a seat-belt. French told officers he was texting his girlfriend, when he started getting numerous messages – and he was checking them at the time of the crash. That was only six days after a heavily-publicized state law took effect banning texting behind-the-wheel.