Drunken driver, sheriff's deputy hit nearly head on

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Ted Sullivan
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
— A Walworth County sheriff’s deputy remained on medical leave this morning after getting injured in a head-on crash with a suspected drunken driver while patrolling Highway 12.

Deputy Richard Johnson was treated at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn and released for back and neck pain after Monday’s early morning crash.

“He’s doing well. He’s sore. He has a doctor’s visit today,” Walworth County Undersheriff Kurt Picknell said. “I expect him to return to full duty soon.”

The other driver, Kevin W. Horvath, 28, Lake Geneva, was treated at the hospital and released in the custody of the sheriff’s office, Picknell said.

Horvath was arrested in connection with misdemeanor endangering safety by reckless driving and misdemeanor causing injury by operating while intoxicated, Picknell said. He also was cited for deviation from a traffic lane.

Horvath appeared in Walworth County Court on Monday afternoon and was ordered released on a $2,000 signature bond.

The wreck occurred at 3:20 a.m. Monday while Johnson was patrolling in his 2008 Crown Victoria south of Sheridan Springs, Picknell said.

Walworth County dispatchers received a report of a driver in a 1997 Ford Thunderbird traveling in the wrong lane going east on Highway 12 near Lake Geneva, headed toward the deputy, he said.

Johnson, unaware of the approaching driver, later saw the vehicle and activated his emergency lights and tried to avoid the other car, Picknell said.

The deputy didn’t have much time to react because the drivers were coming from opposite sides of a hill and met at the top, he said.

“Deputy Johnson’s ability to react was compressed,” Picknell said.

The vehicles crashed straight on, off center, he said.

Johnson has been a Walworth County sheriff’s deputy for seven months.

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash.

Last updated: 10:01 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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