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Palmyra man faces homicide charge in fatal wreck

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Kevin Hoffman
September 17, 2011
— A 21-year-old Palmyra man had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he allegedly caused a fatal wreck last month in Walworth County, deputies said.

Walworth County Judge James Carlson on Tuesday ordered John Weller to stand trial during a short hearing. Weller is charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle after deputies say he caused a wreck Aug. 23 at the intersection of highways A and H in Sugar Creek Township.


Weller failed to obey a stop sign and hit a truck driven by 40-year-old Kelly Agnes of Elkhorn, according to court records. Agnes was pronounced dead at the scene and had to be extricated from the truck, which was turned over in the middle of the road when deputies arrived.


Detective Brian Kilpin of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office testified Tuesday that he came across the scene before bystanders called it in. Weller was still in his truck, which was up against a telephone pole, he said.


Weller submitted to a breath test at the scene, showing his blood-alcohol content was 0.178 percent. A blood test later that night at the hospital showed it at .202 percent, sheriff’s Deputy Tim Ruszkiewicz said.


Weller faces an additional misdemeanor charge of operating while suspended. He also could face additional prison time as a repeat felon.


Weller in 2009 was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to a burglary charge in Jefferson County. In 2010, his probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve nine months in jail, according to court records.


The homicide charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The prior felony conviction means Weller could have up to six years added to his sentence.


Weller remains in custody on a $200,000 cash bond. He is scheduled for arraignment at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.



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