A man accused of drunken driving leading to the death of his passenger was driving aggressively in the minutes leading up to the crash Saturday night, witnesses told investigators.
Thomas J. Bluhm, 32, of 1521 Clover Lane, Janesville, was charged in Rock County Court on Wednesday with homicide by intoxicated driving with a prior intoxicant-related conviction, second-offense intoxicated driving causing injury and second-offense intoxicated driving.
The Ford Mustang Bluhm was driving hit another car head-on in the 6300 block of North Highway 14 in the town of Harmony around 9:18 p.m. Saturday, according to the complaint.
Life-saving measures were performed on Bluhm’s front-seat passenger, David M. Savona, 33, of Janesville, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the complaint.
Another driver told deputies a Mustang tailgated her on East Milwaukee Street in Janesville and that she heard the engine revving at a stoplight. Later, the Mustang sped past her, almost hitting her vehicle, she said.
Then she saw the Mustang try to pass another vehicle, leading to the head-on crash with an oncoming car, according to the complaint.
The other car ended up on its side, and its driver was treated for neck and back pain at a hospital, according to the complaint.
Bluhm claimed he was passing a slow-moving car at the time of the crash and that he was going no faster than 63 mph, but the witness driver described the Mustang as “super fast” and “flying,” according to the complaint.
Bluhm blew a 0.165 on the preliminary breath test, more than twice the legal limit for driving, according to the complaint.
In court Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Cheniqua White said the seriousness of the charges called for a $25,000 cash bond.
Defense attorney Jack Hoag said Bluhm’s only other crime was for credit card fraud, for which he served prison time and completed his probation with no problems.
Bluhm has no history of missing court appearances, Hoag said.
Hoag said Bluhm could not pay such a high bail and suggested a nighttime curfew as part of the bond condition so Bluhm could work.
Court Commissioner Larry Barton imposed a $5,000 cash bond with a 7 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew, absolute sobriety and no driving.
A preliminary hearing in the case is set for May 22.