Levi Ruohonen, 25, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle while having prior intoxicant-related conviction/revocation and drunk driving causing injury — second offense.
If convicted of all three charges, Ruohonen faces up to 86 years in prison and/or fined up to $110,000.
Witness Tells Officers Man Never Braked
According to the criminal complaint, a pickup truck Ruohonen was driving crashed into a car driven by Kevin Dalley at 4:45 p.m. Friday on Four Mile Road near Short Road. A witness told police that Kevin was waiting to make a left turn when Ruohonen crashed into the back of the car at “full speed.” The Caledonia Police officer that reported to the scene wrote in his report that he was “unable to discern where the truck ended and the sedan started.”
Kevin and his two girls were trapped inside the car. Breaking the window, the officer was able to get Kevin — who was still alive — out of the car and drag him over to the north side of the car. Unconscious, Kevin coughed up blood. Another bystander told the officer that Emily was trapped in the back of the car in her car seat in the third row unconscious and unresponsive.
Not far from their family home, Jenn Dalley, Kevin’s wife had come to the scene, who held their six-year-old daughter in her arms.
Police: Man Appeared To have Been Drinking
Ruohonen was found lying in the front seat of his truck. Smelling like alcohol, Ruohonen mumbled when he tried to answer the officer’s questions and his motor function was impaired. Frustrated with not being able to pull his driver’s license out of his wallet, he tried to hand the officer his wallet. A bystander told the officer that someone had taken Ruohonen’s license.
When the officer asked him about it, Ruohonen mumbled and gave the officer bottle of chewing tobacco spit. At the time, officials with the Caledonia Fire Department told the officer that there were no other ambulances available and Ruohonen had to be placed in the officer’s squad car until one became available. Later, an ambulance from the Oak Creek Fire Department took Ruohonen to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
Battalion chief Jeff Henningfeld told the officer that Emily had died at the scene from her injuries. Kevin later died from his injuries.
Man Admits To Have Been Drinking Prior To Crash
Ruohonen told police that he played a hockey game at Wilson Park in Milwaukee until about 1 p.m., then stopped a strip club in Franklin with a friend until about 4 p.m. Heading home, Ruohonen said he never arrived home and that he “can feel it all went wrong.”
When the officer explained to Ruohonen that Kevin and Emily had died as a result of the crash, he was in a “state of disbelief.” He told the officer he had three or four alcoholic beverages at the hockey game and one or two at the strip club.
A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 8 in front of Racine County Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch.
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