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Questions remain in fatal crash

Blood test changes case against Elkhorn man

December 01, 2010 | 08:52 AM
Geneva — "We believe alcohol may be a contributing factor in the crash."

That's what town police officer Ken Mulhollon stated Nov. 16, in a press release issued hours after a 9-year-old Lake Como boy was killed in a two-vehicle accident near the Como Flats on Highway H.

But now, it appears the 33-year-old Elkhorn man in Walworth County Jail because of his part in the crash may not have been drinking. A blood sample from Jeremy C. Dees taken shortly after the two-vehicle crash which killed Carter Dorwin has changed the case.

"Right now, the blood results show that some time after the crash there was no alcohol in his system," Walworth County Sheriff's Department Capt. Scott McClory said Monday.

In an e-mail Monday, County District Attorney Phil Koss said a criminal complaint against Dees will be filed later this week. He said the complaint "changes to a criminal negligence case instead of an intoxicated homicide" after the results of the blood test.

"We are still waiting on the drug screen," Koss said.

McClory said the case remains under investigation. Last week, he issued a press release requesting more help from the public. He said he continues to search for any witnesses who were at the crash or who were with Dees in the 24 hours leading up to it.

"We have gotten a few calls and we have gotten some leads, but we're still hoping for more calls," McClory said. "Maybe there's still people out there who weren't around because of the holiday and didn't hear about this."

So why was it stated alcohol may be a contributing factor?

On Monday, Mulhollon said it was because officers conducted a portable breath test on Dees and they made observations which suggested alcohol may have played a role.

"He blew a 0.03 percent on the (breath test and) he had crossed over the center line at a high rate of speed," Mulhollon said. "That's usually a good indicator, but we said it (alcohol) 'may' be a contributing factor."

He wasn't the only one.

"We believed it may have been a factor," McClory said when asked why sheriff's deputies and town police officers suspected alcohol being involved. "That's all I'm going to say."

Meanwhile, Dees was released from Froedtert Memorial Hospital in Milwaukee last weekend. On Sunday, he was taken to the Walworth County Jail, where he is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Dees has three prior drunken driving convictions, the last one being May 5, 2008. In 2009, he was convicted of a disorderly conduct charge in Marathon County. He also has been found guilty of other alcohol- and drug-related charges and battery.

Early morning tragedy

At about 6:58 a.m. Nov. 16, two vehicles collided and plunged into the marshes off Highway H, near Park Street.

Dorwin, an Eastview third-grader, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was riding in a vehicle with his mother, Nicole, 36, a teacher at Badger High School, and his brother, Bradley, 4.

Nicole and Bradley were taken to Lakeland for their injuries and released. Dees, the driver and sole occupant of his vehicle, was taken via Flight For Life to Lakeland. Mulhollon said the blood samples were collected from Dees at Lakeland.

"The initial investigation revealed Mr. Dees' vehicle to have crossed over the yellow center line and collided into the driver side passenger door of the Dorwin vehicle, where Carter Dorwin was sitting," Mulhollon stated Nov. 16.

Hundreds showed their support of the Dorwins when they attended Carter's funeral services Nov. 20 at Mt. Zion Church.

Dozens of orange balloons were released in Carter's memory. People close to him said the balloons were orange because that was his favorite color and the Chicago Bears were his favorite football team.

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