NOW:53146:USA01489
http://widgets.journalinteractive.com/cache/JIResponseCacher.ashx?duration=5&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdata.wp.myweather.net%2FeWxII%2F%3Fdata%3D*USA01489
81°
H 82° L 72°
Clear | 14MPH

Drunken driver convicted in deaths of New Berlin couple

Oct. 4, 2012

The drunken driver who killed a New Berlin couple in a horrific crash on New Year's Day and then fled from the scene pleaded no contest Thursday to four charges.

Ed and Jean Thaves, who were 61 and 52 years old, were at N. 27th St. and W. St. Paul Ave. about 6 a.m. after a night at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. That's when Kelly Duke lost control of a stolen car, went airborne and crashed into the roof of the couple's vehicle.

Duke, who was seriously injured, climbed out of the car he'd been driving and ran from a witness. Duke's brother later appeared at the crash site and said the car belonged to his aunt and that Kelly Duke was likely the driver. He was arrested later at a relative's home.

Tests later showed Duke had a blood-alcohol level of 0.183, more than twice the legal limit for driving.

Duke, 17 at the time, was charged with nine offenses and had been set to begin trial next week before he reached a plea agreement. He entered the no-contest pleas to two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, one count of hit-and-run involving death and to the misdemeanor charge of knowingly driving with a suspended license, causing great bodily harm.

Other counts were dismissed.

By pleading no contest, Duke avoids admitting liability in a lawsuit. His attorney, John Moore, also said Duke pleaded no contest because he has no memory of the crash. In a criminal case, however, the plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.

Duke, now 18, faces up to 45 years and nine months in prison at his sentencing Jan. 11, plus 30 years of extended supervision. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski ordered pre-sentence reports for Duke.

Several of the victims' family members and friends attended the hearing. The couple's children were disappointed in the plea and the length of time the case has been pending.

"Why hurt our family any more by not just saying, 'I'm sorry, I did it, I'm pleading guilty,' " said Lyann Buena Franco, the victims' daughter. "This was really a blow to me."

Her brother, Edwin Thaves, said that Duke needed to be brought to justice "with a strong hand," and that if the system didn't make an example of him, the "epidemic" of drunken driving will continue to plague the community.

He called on lawmakers to pass laws toughening drunken driving, including minimum mandatory sentences to prevent "activist judges from letting sympathy get in the way of common sense and public safety."

Duke has been jailed on $200,000 bail since his arrest.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» 'Milwaukee lion' spotted in Glendale Updated:  7/28

» Eisenhower baseball team had 'successful' year, Vahovick says 7/27

» Area baseball teams eschewing hand signals for quarterback-style numbers game 7/27

» New Berlin West's Radtke commits to Lake Superior State 7/27

» Big Muskego Lake officials may request grant for stonewort fight 7/24

» Residents say dam on creek in Muskego is 'jewel' and to leave it alone 7/23

» The Suburban 16 Power Rankings: Watt, Niebrugge, and others on the next level 7/22

» Initial Reaction Podcast: A dumb-sports-fan's guide to the Bucks arena financing situation 7/21

» New Berlin West's Fritz tosses 3-hitter but drops 2-1 decision to West Allis Hale 7/20

» Whitnall walks away with 8-7 win over Eisenhower in extra innings 7/20

» DNR to hold information meetings on starry stonewort 7/20

» Whitnall baseball team uses big fifth inning to stun Muskego in regional title contest 7/17

» Greenfield's Bella Matthias headlines the 2015 All-Suburban Softball Team 7/16

» 'Lake killer' over-reaction to starry stonewort, Michigan expert says 7/16

» Big Muskego Lake officials fear there's an absence of effective stonewort controls 7/15

» Hale nips New Berlin West, 2-1, in regional opener 7/14

» Wind Lake residents worry as starry stonewort found on their doorstep 7/14

» Walker announces presidential run in Waukesha among hometown Wauwatosa supporters 7/13

» Eisenhower baseball team goes 3-0 in Woodland consolation bracket 7/13

» New Berlin West only wins once in Woodland championship bracket 7/13

» Indian Motorcycle dealership opening in Muskego 7/10

» Invasive algae more widespread than thought in area lakes 7/10

» Starry stonewort now found all over Big Muskego Lake, Bass Bay 7/9

» Burglaries, some other crimes down substantially in New Berlin 7/9

» Indian Motorcycle sets up camp in Muskego 7/9

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Advertisement

Advertisement

Local Business Directory

CONNECT    

Advertisement