Defense attorney questions cause of death in double-fatal crash
JANESVILLE The defense attorney for a Janesville man charged in a double-fatal crash questioned Tuesday if one of the victims died as a result of the crash, if the accused was at fault in the crash and if his client was on pain medication when he spoke to investigators.
Omar Tavizon-Ramos, 21, is charged with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle for the deaths of Jeffery S. Bauer, 19, of Janesville and his grandmother Margaret Worden, 61, of Janesville. He also is charged with injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle for injuries caused to his passenger, Gilberto Vargas-Cano of Janesville.
Ramos left University Hospital 15 days after the crash and boarded a bus before he could be arrested. He was taken into custody in Janesville two days later.
The accident occurred at 2:45 Easter morning at Center Avenue and Racine Street. Worden was driving a minivan south on Center Avenue and was turning left onto Racine Street when it collided with a car driven north on Center Avenue by Ramos.
Bauer was thrown from the minivan and died at the scene. Worden was transported to Mercy Medical and Trauma Center, Janesville, and died 12 days later at the hospital.
Dr. Muhammad Alkhan testified Tuesday that Worden’s death was caused by a stroke she suffered because of trauma from the accident. Alkhan said an artery in her neck was torn, likely in the accident. As her body healed, a clot broke loose and caused the stroke.
Defense Attorney Michael Murphy questioned if age or disease could have caused Worden’s stroke.
Alkhan said that was possible, but he believed it was caused by the accident.
“You cannot blame the age for the death,” Alkhan said.
Members of Bauer’s and Worden’s family attended the preliminary hearing. They placed a picture of Worden and a picture of Bauer with his dog, which also died in the crash, on the bench in front of the family.
Janesville police officer Benito Rocha testified that he spoke to Ramos at University Hospital in Madison on May 3. Rocha said Ramos told him he he’d had two or three beers the night of the crash and was going about 5 mph over the speed limit.
Ramos told Rocha the minivan had one of its doors open at the time of the crash and was going too fast, which caused the accident.
Murphy asked Rocha if he saw Ramos take any pain medication or if he asked Ramos if Ramos was on any pain medication. Rocha said he did not see Ramos take any medication.
Ramos and Cano were at a bar in Beloit before the crash, according to the criminal complaint.
Cano, who testified from his wheelchair Tuesday while wearing a cast on his right wrist, said he did not remember getting into the car and did not remember the accident. He said the last thing he remembers was drinking two beers and later waking up in the hospital.
Ramos’ blood-alcohol concentration at the time of the crash is unknown. He was not breath tested at the scene because he was being treated for his injuries. Blood samples drawn at the hospital after the crash still are being tested at the Wisconsin State Hygiene Laboratory.
To convict Ramos of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, prosecutors must prove that Ramos was intoxicated and that his intoxication caused the crash.
The hearing was postponed until 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, when test results on Ramos’ blood samples are expected to be available.