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Genoa City teen pleads innocent in OWI homicide case

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Dec. 28, 2007, 1:08 p.m.)

The late Everardo Chimal-Lopez, a 54-year-old immigrant landscaper who lived in Delavan, is now buried in Mexico.

Krystal A. Hart, a 16-year-old junior at Badger High School, faces a charge of homicide by intoxicated driving.

Chimal-Lopez's surviving adult sons, Erik and Diego, are at a loss for words.

"It has been hard. There are really no words to express it," Diego said Thursday after Hart's arraignment hearing. "We can't really put words around the situation."

Hart, 438 Main St., Genoa City, is accused of having a blood alcohol level of 0.12 percent following the Nov. 3 crash on Highway H in Como. She was reportedly driving her Mercury Sable northbound in the southbound lane when she struck Chimal-Lopez's Chevy Beretta head on.

She told police she had been drinking at a friend's house in Lake Geneva that evening. A marijuana smoking pipe was found in the car and she told police she used the drug between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Nov. 2, about 10 hours before the crash, according to the criminal complaint.

Hart pleaded innocent Thursday afternoon. She faces up to 25 years in prison and fines totaling $100,000.

Erik and Diego, maintenance workers at Grand Geneva Resort, were waiting for their father to pick them up the night of the crash.

When he didn't come, the brothers figured he had car trouble and started walking home, taking the usual route. They came across the accident scene, recognizing their father's car.

They flew their father to Mexico to be buried. He has a wife and two teen daughters there.

"They are completely destroyed," Diego said.

The brothers have no plans to leave Wisconsin. They have expenses and need to keep working, they said.

Hart sustained a broken right ankle in the crash.

Defense attorney Jim Martin declined to comment other than to say he is still reviewing accident reconstruction and blood test reports. He said Hart and her family would not be commenting to the press.

Hart's next court date is Feb. 20. A trial may be scheduled then if a plea agreement is not reached.

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