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Driver charged in crash that killed pregnant woman

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published July 9, 2007, 3:48 p.m.)

Prosecutors have charged a Delavan man with killing a woman and her unborn baby by driving his car into a tree while drunk April 29.

Mark A. Friesema, 21, was charged Tuesday with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and misdemeanor bail jumping. He faces more than 50 years in prison if convicted of causing the two deaths.

Courtney C. Hamilton, 20, of Delavan was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:05 a.m., about 50 minutes after the accident on South Shore Drive and Bailey Road. She was in her first trimester of pregnancy, according to the criminal complaint.

Friesema was eastbound on South Shore Drive when he lost control and struck a tree near the intersection at Bailey Road, according to the deputy coroner who was at the scene. The passenger side of the car took the brunt of the impact.

A responding police officer was unable to move Hamilton enough to open her airway or perform first aid, according to the complaint. It took fire crews about 30 minutes to get Hamilton out of the car, at which point she had no pulse.

Police estimated the speed of Friesema's Mercedes to be 50 to 55 mph when it hit the tree, according to the complaint. The speed limit in the area is 35 mph.

Friesema was extricated and flown from a local hospital to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa with serious injuries. Citing patient confidentiality, hospital officials declined to say when Friesema was released.

A blood sample taken shortly after the accident revealed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.151 percent, nearly twice Wisconsin's 0.08 percent legal limit for driving, according to the complaint.

Friesema is not in custody, according to jail records. His first court appearance is set for Monday morning.

At that initial hearing, Friesema also will face two unrelated misdemeanor drug charges and a disorderly conduct charge.

About a week before the accident, Friesema was arrested for yelling obscenities and damaging a woman's property in the town of Darien. A deputy noticed a small bag of marijuana and a smoking pipe when he was arrested, according to the complaint.



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