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Friday, April 18, 2008

Genoa City teen's case sent back to juvenile court

By Kayla Bunge/The Janesville Gazette

It's back to juvenile court for Krystal A. Hart, at least for now.

The 16-year-old Genoa City girl is charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in the Nov. 3 crash that killed 54-year-old Everardo Chimal Lopez of Delavan.

Hart originally was charged in adult court, but defense attorney Jim Martin in March filed a motion to dismiss the charges in adult court, saying juvenile court should have jurisdiction over the homicide charge.

Traffic crimes involving drivers 16 or older are adult offenses, according to state statutes, but homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle is a criminal charge, not a traffic violation, District Attorney Phil Koss said.

Martin's motion was granted Thursday, and the charges in adult court were dismissed.

Koss said charges are now filed in juvenile court, but prosecutors will seek to have Hart waived back to adult court at a hearing Friday, April 25.

Hart, a junior at Badger High School, is accused of having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.12 percent after the Nov. 3 crash. She was northbound in the southbound lane of County H in Como around 2:45 a.m., when she slammed head-on into Lopez's car, according to the criminal complaint.

Lopez died about an hour after the crash.

Hart told police she was drinking at a friend's house in Lake Geneva that night. A marijuana pipe was found in the car, and she told police she used the drug about 10 hours before the crash, according to the complaint.

Hart pleaded not guilty in December. She faces up to 25 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

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