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Man charged with killing Grant Peterson of West Bend, WI in drunk driving crash is sentenced

September 28, 2023 – West Bend, WI – The man charged with killing Grant Peterson of West Bend, WI, on December 28, 2022, in a drunk driving accident was sentenced in Sauk County Court in Baraboo, WI.

Kaden Churchill, 18, of Reedsburg, Wi was facing 7 counts including a pair of felony charges for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in the December 28, 2022, crash.

Churchill initially pleaded not guilty and was held on $25,000 cash bond.

In court this week Churchill changed his plea to guilty on the intoxicated homicide charge and the other six charges were dismissed but read into the record.

Churchill was sentenced to 20 years in the state prison with 15 years initial confinement followed by 5 years extended supervision.

Below is a story from April 2023 regarding an event held in honor of Grant Peterson. 
April 23, 2023 – Beaver Dam, WI – Students from MPTC in Beaver Dam, WI paid tribute to one of their fallen classmates during the Lineman Rodeo. The event, the Grant Peterson Memorial Bell Run, was held in memory of Peterson, 20, of West Bend who was killed by a drunk driver in December 2022.

The linemen rodeos traditionally test climbing skill, speed, and fluidity. Other events showcase feats of strength and speed. Students from four Electrical Power Distribution programs in Wisconsin including Beaver Dam, MATC, Blackhawk, and Wausau, participated in the event.


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Electrical power distribution instructor Ryan Henschel oversaw the event. Peterson was his student in 2021 and Henschel said he made a big impact with his “dedication and competitive nature” at lineman school.

Prior to the outdoor event, Henschel made sure students knew the ramifications of drinking and driving. “Grant Peterson, 20, was killed by a wrong-way 18-year-old drunk driver on I-94 near the Wisconsin Dells on December 28, 2022,” said Henschel. “There are enough options available if you want to go out and have fun with your friends but are not safe to drive home.”

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Grant Peterson was the second oldest of 7 children. He was born and raised in West Bend and very involved in the community. Kirstin Peterson attended the event with five of her children.

“I know it will be hard watching all these young men, but I want to do it for Grant since we’re so honored MPTC is doing this,” she said.

“It’s such a unique, exciting event being put on by our local technical college and it would also mean SO MUCH to my husband, my other children, and me for our community to know that part of the day (the bell run) was dedicated to our son.”
Grant Peterson graduated from the Electrical Power Distribution (EPD) Program at Moraine Park Technical College in Beaver Dam in May 2022 and shortly thereafter started his career as a Lineman Apprentice for WE Energies.
Grant Peterson on his first day of EPD school
“He made a big impact on his coworkers at WE Energies,” said Kristin Peterson. “They even parked their trucks with buckets raised to form a cross across the street from Good Shepherd during his funeral.
“Grant truly loved his work and looked forward to many years of public service.”
The winner of the inaugural Grant Peterson Memorial Bell Run was Josh Bitsky who finished in a time of :09.05 seconds.
On a side note:  Kaden Churchill, 18, of Reedsburg, Wi is facing 7 counts including a pair of felony charges for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in the December 28, 2022, crash. Churchill has pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $25,000 cash bond. A plea hearing is scheduled June 12, 2023 in Sauk County Court.

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