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Genoa City teen charged in fatal crash

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Feb. 15, 2007, 5:03 p.m.)

A single charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle was issued Tuesday against a Badger High School junior.

Krystal A. Hart, 16, of Genoa City, is suspected of being drunk and driving head-on into another car on County H the early morning of Nov. 3. The driver of the other vehicle, Everardo Chimal Lopez, a 54-year-old landscaper from Delavan, died about an hour after the 2:43 a.m. crash.

Hart's blood-alcohol level on a breath test was 0.12 percent, and she had a "very strong odor of intoxicants coming from her," according to the criminal complaint. She also told police she had used marijuana hours before the crash, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2.

The criminal complaint indicates Hart was possibly northbound in the southbound lane of the highway.

Blood test results for drugs and alcohol are still pending.

The charge of homicide by intoxicated driving carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

District Attorney Phil Koss had considered charging misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia because a marijuana pipe was found in Hart's Mercury Sable.

Hart admitted the pipe was hers and told police she had been drinking at a friend's house in the city of Lake Geneva earlier that evening, according to the complaint.

Although the person who gave Hart alcohol could be charged with providing alcohol to a minor, Koss said he couldn't charge the person with party to homicide. Wisconsin statutes protect the alcohol supplier even if a person is killed or injured as a result of alcohol consumption, Koss said.

The state's Len Bias Laws, which allow for the prosecution of those who supply drugs that take a person's life, are not applicable, either Koss said. Those laws apply only if the user of the drugs-not a third party-dies from taking them, Koss said.

Police still are investigating exactly where Hart was going to or coming from before the crash, Koss said.

She invoked her right to silence and sought counsel, Koss said.

"That leaves the investigation more troublesome, but we are still pursuing that," he said.

Hart was in court Thursday for an initial appearance. She will have a preliminary hearing on Dec. 3 at 11 a.m.

She has been released with a signature bond co-signed by her parents.


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