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Janesville man pleads guilty in hit-and-run death

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Ted Sullivan
October 28, 2009
— A Janesville man accused of killing a motorcyclist in a hit-and-run crash pleaded guilty Tuesday in Rock County Court.

Omar Miguel Lopez, 24, of 2323 Mt. Zion Ave., pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run resulting in death.


In exchange, the charges of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, knowingly operating while revoked causing death and domestic battery were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. The judge can consider the charges at sentencing.


An operating after revoked ticket also was dismissed.


According to the criminal complaint:


Lopez was driving a car east on Mt. Zion Avenue at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, April 11, when his vehicle collided with a small motorcycle driven by Bradley Griffith, 45, of 2614 Vail Court, No. 2, Janesville.


A witness told police Lopez had a red light and was traveling 50 mph.


Lopez fled the scene after the crash.


A witness followed Lopez and later flagged down police.


A police officer testified at the preliminary hearing that Lopez admitted to the crash.


The officer said Lopez claimed he had a green light and knew the motorcyclist had fallen to the ground.


Another officer testified he found Griffith lying on the ground, wearing a helmet and orange safety vest.


Griffith was taken to Mercy Hospital in Janesville. He had a broken femur, pelvis and clavicle. His lungs were filling with blood. He also had a head injury.


Griffith died about a month later.


In court Tuesday, Lopez wore an orange jailhouse uniform. He sat with a translator who explained the court proceedings to him.


Lopez remains in the Rock County Jail on a probation hold. He faces a maximum 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine at his Jan. 20 sentencing.



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