Woman pleads guilty in fatal drunken driving crash

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Nico Savidge
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

JANESVILLE—Thirteen months after she drove drunk, ran a stop sign and killed a man when her car slammed into his, a woman pleaded guilty to homicide by intoxicated driving Tuesday morning.

Tara A. Carlson, 40, formerly of Janesville, was driving home on Highway 11 from a wedding reception where she had been drinking the night of Aug. 18, 2012, according to a criminal complaint.

When Carlson came to the intersection of Highway 11 and County B in the town of Janesville a witness said Carlson went through the stop sign and T-boned a car driving east on County B.

James Menard, a 64-year-old passenger in the other car, was killed. The car's driver and two other passengers were injured, authorities said.

Prosecutors charged Carlson with two felony counts in Menard's death, and six misdemeanors for injuring the three others.

On Tuesday, Carlson pleaded guilty to the most serious of those charges, homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

The other seven counts were dismissed but read into the record, meaning Judge Kenneth Forbeck can consider them when he sentences Carlson at a hearing Friday, Nov. 15.

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