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
66°
H 73° L 63°
Cloudy | 16MPH

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

» Little Muskego Lake boart ramp to close temporarily in fight against invasive species 01:38 PM

» Business owners, Muskego officials to hash out problems over breakfast 5/20

» Boon to Muskego downtown planning expected to come soon 5/20

» Nearly $100,000 in grants recommended for Muskego businesses 5/20

» Development of New Berlin farmland awaits landowners' consensus on road 5/19

» Let us know about your Memorial Day event 5/13

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Massive overhaul of area conferences could be afoot 5/13

» Winter's not through with us yet 5/12

» Lakepoint Church plans to buy part of Lincoln Pointe Plaza in Muskego 5/11

» Muskego teen accused of firing needles at boys charged as an adult 5/10

» New Berlin manufacturer Infratrol plans to close, files for receivership Updated:  5/5

» New Berlin manufacturer in business since 1956 closes down 5/5

» New Berlin man got more than he bargained for when hiring escort 5/4

» Investigation: Family behind collapsed Falls building has a history of neglecting properties Updated:  5/1

» Muskego-Norway School Board reviews extensive school reorganization 4/30

» Eisenhower, New Berlin West both deemed among most challenging 4/27

» Businesswomen win New Berlin Chamber of Commerce top honors 4/22

» Hot franchise group coming to New Berlin 4/21

» Diamond Stone headlines 2014-15 All-Suburban Boys Basketball team 4/13

» Tornado watch in effect 4/9

» Muskego Area Chamber of Commerce honors pair of businesses 4/9

» Waukesha man charged in crash at New Berlin Animal Hospital 4/9

» 2015 Milwaukee suburbs election roundup Updated:  4/8

» Paul Farrow elected Waukesha County exec; Van De Water out as judge 4/7

» Waukesha man charged after chase, crash into animal hospital Updated:  4/7

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Advertisement

Advertisement

Local Business Directory

CONNECT    

Most Popular