Janesville78.2°

16-year-old facing homicide by drunken driving charge

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Mike Heine
November 6, 2007
— Erik and Diego Chimal waited at Grand Geneva Resort for their father to pick them up during Saturday’s early morning hours.

He never came.


They thought he had car trouble, so they decided to start biking home to Delavan.


When they came up to flashing red and blue lights on County H near Como, they knew it wasn’t car trouble. They knew it was much worse.


Erik, 24, and Diego, 22, saw their father’s Chevy Beretta smashed in the front end. Police and fire crews were still on the scene of the head-on accident.


A friend drove them to Aurora Lakeland Medical Center to see their dad, Everardo Chimal Lopez, a 54-year-old Mexican immigrant who worked as a landscaper.


Chimal Lopez died from multiple internal injuries at 3:43 a.m., about an hour after the accident, said Walworth County Deputy Coroner Ron Wilson, who did not know if Chimal Lopez was wearing a seatbelt.


“He was very friendly with everyone,” Abel Martinez, a longtime friend, said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter. “He would love to have all kinds of conversations with everyone about all kinds of things. I never heard a bad opinion of him.”


Chimal Lopez first came to the United States 1971, working temporary jobs in California. He wanted to help make a better life for his family in Mexico, Erik said.


He settled permanently in Delavan in 1992, and his sons came in 2004. His wife and two daughters, ages 17 and 16, remain in Mexico, his sons said.


“He came to work and give us a better life,” Erik said. “As far as economics (go), things are easier for him here.”


Now, Erik and Diego don’t know what they will do or if they will stay in Wisconsin.


Their father’s body will be returned to Mexico for burial.


The driver of the car that hit him, 16-year-old Krystal A. Hart, faces a potential charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. She was treated for minor injuries.


According to the accident report, Hart, a junior at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, was northbound in the southbound lane of County H when her car struck Chimal Lopez’s vehicle.


Her blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent, and she admitted recently smoking marijuana, District Attorney Phil Koss said. He did not know where she was going or coming from at almost 3 a.m.


Hart of Genoa City will be tried in adult court. All traffic crimes involving drivers age 16 or older are adult offenses, according to statutes.


She was released on a signature bond, co-signed by her parents Monday. Hart appeared before Judge James Carlson in a wheelchair.


Defense attorney Jim Martin declined to comment. He said her parents, who attended the bail hearing, would not comment on the accident.


Before it was changed Monday afternoon, her Myspace.com page said she had been in cheerleading and played softball.


It also said: “Nothing lasts forever, so live it up, drink it down, laugh it off, avoid the (expletive), take chances and never have regrets because at one point, everything you did was exactly what you wanted.”


Her greeting tag had said, “Drunken words are sober thoughts.”



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