The Portage man who authorities say was the driver in a one-car crash that killed two teenagers Sunday apparently made no attempt to contact authorities afterward even though the girls who died were still alive at the time.

However, the Marquette County coroner told the Daily Register on Tuesday that even if the driver had reported it immediately, it probably wouldn't have saved their lives.

Kieffer L. Michel, 18, told authorities he had consumed six beers and four shots of alcohol before the crash, which occurred on Highway 23, about 0.3 miles east of 11th Drive west of Montello in Marquette County's town of Packwaukee.

Auth-orities say Michel walked to a Montello convenience store and called a family member for a ride to his Portage home.

Judge Richard Wright set a cash bail amount of $12,500 for Michel at a hearing Tuesday in Marquette County Circuit Court. He faces 10 years in prison as an initial maximum penalty on two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 19.

Brittney Griffey, 17, of Packwaukee, and Kristin Eggert, 16, of Portage, were ejected from the vehicle and died later. Neither girl was wearing a seatbelt; authorities said alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.
Michel, who was wearing a seatbelt, was not injured; he was taken from his Portage residence to the Marquette County Jail early Sunday.

According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, first-responders arrived at the scene after a call from a witness who came across the crash at 12:53 a.m. They found a small, black vehicle upright and facing southeast in a ditch north of Highway 23.

Chief Deputy Joe Konrath said Tuesday that there was only one 911 call reporting the crash. It was not made by Michel.

Griffey was found 50 to 60 feet east of the vehicle and Eggert was found 20 to 25 feet east of the vehicle; both girls were lying on the ground and still alive, according to the complaint.

Authorities did not locate Michel, but found out he was at a Kwik Trip in Montello and used the personal telephone of one of the clerks at 2:15 a.m. Sunday, the complaint stated.

Michel told investigators that he was driving the vehicle westbound, away from Montello, on Highway 23 with Griffey in the passenger seat and Eggert in the back seat; he was driving 65 to 75 mph when the car began sliding. He said the brakes at first didn't engage but then they did, and the car went off the road into a ditch and rolled a number of times. Michel said he yelled for Griffey but got no answer. He did not yell for Eggert, who he did not know before that night. He then ran across Highway 23 and walked back into Montello, the complaint stated.

Michel said he heard sirens five to 15 minutes after the crash and saw a spotlight from the medical helicopter when he was in Montello; he did not attempt to contact anyone, but went to the Kwik Trip, used a clerk's cell phone and was eventually picked up by a family member and returned home to Portage, according to the complaint.

Marquette County Coroner Thomas Wastart told the Daily Register on Tuesday that the outcome of the teenagers' deaths likely would not have changed had the crash been immediately reported.

"It would be unlikely their condition would have changed with a 15-minute notification either way," Wastart said.

Michel admitted to drinking about six beers and four shots of alcohol between 7 p.m. Saturday and midnight, when the three left to get cigarettes at the Kwik Trip and went to the Chateau Tavern in Montello before heading west on Highway 23, the complaint stated.

Both teenagers were transported for treatment to Madison hospitals; Wastart said Griffey died at 5:37 a.m. Sunday and Eggert at 1:36 p.m. Sunday.

According to court records, Michel was driving with a suspended driver's license at the time of the crash; the license was suspended June 6 for nine months after Michel pleaded no contest to a citation in Baraboo of underage drinking as a second offense from an incident April 22.