OSHKOSH - The Fond du Lac County village of Campbellsport devastated 8 months ago is showing support for the young woman driving a packed SUV that crashed, killing three of her passengers.
Carly Ottery was behind the wheel. Prosecutors say she was driving more than 100 miles per hour when she lost control. Sabrina Stahl, Katie Berg and Caitlin Scannell were killed. There were five other passengers in the vehicle.
Ottery is scheduled to be sentenced next month. And now the community is rallying around Ottery and each other.
A large stack of more than 150 letters in the Fond du Lac County file contains messages of support for Carly Ottery. The now 19-year-old is facing a recommendation of five years of probation for the deaths of three of her friends in a February car crash.
"I don't think anybody believes there was any intent to hurt of kill, nonetheless we have the consequences of her actions that night which are absolutely devastating," said special prosecutor Christian Gossett.
About 150 letters from friends, family and community members ask for Ottery to avoid jail time. Gossett says he met with the families of the victims, but makes his own recommendation to the judge about the sentence he feels is appropriate.
"It looks like she has not had any problems, not gotten in trouble with the law at least until this incident and is now in college working toward leading a productive future."
Only a small handful of the letters ask for Ottery to be sent to prison. Including a note stating, "She needs to pay for this."
The pleas for leniency include short handwritten notes to multiple page letters. Parents of at least one of the victims also asks for Ottery to avoid being put behind bars, saying "We do not want Carly to be incarcerated...she is smart, loving and caring."
Gossett notes the actions by Ottery were criminal, but her reputation and lack of criminal history also weighed heavily in his recommendation.
"The charges we felt were justified by the actions, the penalties are where it becomes much more difficult."
Ultimately, the decision will be before a judge to agreed to the recommendation or to impose a sentence he sees fit. Ottery could receive five years of prison time with five years of extended supervision for each of the three charges of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Ottery will be sentenced in Fond du Lac County Court on Nov. 5.
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