Man who killed 3 in Wisconsin crash wants to withdraw plea

Published 8:20 pm Friday, December 27, 2019

A Russian immigrant wants to withdraw his guilty plea to killing three people in a wrong-way crash on a western Wisconsin interstate two years ago.

Serghei Kundilovski, 38, formerly of Orangevale, California, was sentenced last year to 75 years in prison. Prosecutors said Kundilovski was driving the wrong way on Interstate 94 in July 2017 after huffing, or using cans of aerosol to get high. He struck an oncoming vehicle west of Menomonie, killing 32-year-old Adam Kendhammer, 27-year-old Jeremy Berchem and 29-year-old Bryan Rudell, all of Minneapolis.

Kundilovski is fluent in Russian and speaks broken English. He contends he should be able to withdraw his guilty plea because he did not understand the consequences of accepting a plea agreement.

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Kundilovski agreed to the plea deal in November 2017, telling Dunn County Judge James Peterson he “understood everything” before entering guilty pleas on three counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

Although there was a Russian interpreter at his court hearings, Kundilovski said there was no interpreter during his attorney-client meetings.

In the postconviction motion filed in Seprember, defense attorney Catherine Malchow said she communicated with him in those meetings with Google Translate.

Kundilovski also contends he thought his attorney said if he entered the plea agreement he could expect a three- to-seven-year sentence, instead of the 75 years he actually received.

Kundilovski is scheduled to testify on his motion next month. The court has until Feb. 10 to rule on his motion.