Janesville38.3°

Driver charged in crash that killed Beloit woman

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Catherine W. Idzerda
June 1, 2008
— Before Richard K. Bennett left a Beloit bar with Katherine Fernihough about 2 a.m. Wednesday, he told her he “was in no condition to drive,” according to a criminal complaint.

About 30 minutes later, Bennett was sitting on the ground about 10 feet from Fernihough, 22, who had been ejected from his car after it struck a tree.


She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which occurred in the 1800 block of South Turtle Town Hall Road, east of Beloit.


Bennett, 23, of 3103 Mt. Zion Ave., Janesville, was charged Friday with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.


It was his second reported arrest for drunken driving.


According to the complaint:


When Rock County deputies arrived at the scene, they found heavy damage to the passenger side of Bennett’s 2000 Buick Century. Bennett stated he didn’t know whether or not he was the driver, but he was “pretty sure” he wasn’t.


Investigation showed the car was traveling south South Turtle Town Hall Road at high speeds. When the car hit the railroad crossing near Millington Road, it lost control, crested a hill, crossed into the northbound land and went off the east side of the road. The passenger side of the vehicle struck a large tree. There was very little damage to the driver’s door.


One friend interviewed after the accident described Bennett as “Katherine’s boyfriend.”


A witness who saw them leave Country Pub, 2956 Milwaukee Road, Beloit, said Bennett got into the driver’s seat.


Bennett was transported to Beloit Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.


Bennett’s blood-alcohol level measured 0.171, more than twice Wisconsin’s legal limit, which is 0.08.



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