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Judge sets $50,000 bail for man in boy's crash death

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Darryl Enriquez
January 22, 2011
— A judge set a $50,000 cash bond Friday for homicide defendant Jeremy Dees after learning Dees shed his clothes and smashed a cell phone at a church a short time before his Jeep smashed into an oncoming car, killing 9-year-old Carter Dorwin.

The bond likely will keep Dees in the Walworth County Jail until his four-day trial, scheduled to begin March 7. Walworth County Judge John Race, who set bond, will preside over the trial.


Dees, 33, is charged with homicide by negligent driving and two lesser counts of causing injury by reckless driving.


The charges are connected to a Nov. 16 fatal crash in which Dees’ Jeep twice swerved into the oncoming traffic lane on County H north of Lake Geneva and smashed into a car whose driver tried but failed to swerve out of the way, according to a criminal complaint.


The Jeep crashed into the portion of the car where Carter was seated. His mother, Nicole, 36, and 4-year-old brother, Bradley, received minor injuries.


Dees claimed he had no memory of the crash. He was critically injured but appeared to be in good health during his court appearance Friday.


Initially, officials believed that Dees had consumed alcohol on the morning prior to the crash, but tests showed neither alcohol nor drugs in his blood.


Dees’ bond initially was set at $250,000. Despite the reduction to $50,000, Dees likely will remain in Walworth County Jail because he does not have the means to raise that amount of money, District Attorney Phil Koss said.


Dees’ lawyer, James B. Duquette, urged Race to release his client on a signature bond or low cash bail because the charge is no longer linked to substance abuse.


Koss said Dees’ past of drunken driving and bail-jumping convictions made him a bad candidate for release. Koss expressed concern about where Dees would live if released and about a 2004 order from another court that Dees take psychotropic drugs and seek counseling.


“Although there were no drugs or alcohol, his (Dees’) roommate said he acted bizarre that day,” Koss said.


Koss said Dees had gotten into an argument that day at his Lake Geneva church, took off his clothes and smashed a cell phone.


Koss said people at the church calmed Dees and helped him dress before he left.


Meanwhile, Nicole Dorwin was driving Carter and Bradley to school in Lake Geneva.


When Nicole Dorwin saw Dees approaching, she swerved onto the shoulder and almost came to a complete stop, but she could not avoid being struck, according to official records.


When help arrived, they found Nicole holding Bradley. She told a sheriff’s deputy that Carter was dead.


Race said that although there’s a strong likelihood Dees would return for trial, he simply didn’t know enough about the defendant to release him on low bail.


“We’re not sure where his roots are,” Race said.


The felony charge carries a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of not more than $10,000. A pretrial hearing is set from 3 p.m. Feb. 11.



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