Judge finds that Lake Como family did not give beer to homicidal driver
ELKHORN Monica Gutierrez does not drink alcohol or keep it at her Lake Como home. The only large non-family gathering she hosts is her church’s Bible study group.
Based on those facts, it’s unlikely she or anyone in her family threw a drinking party at her home Oct. 26, 2007, according to a Walworth County Court decision handed down last week.
Walworth County Judge John Race approved a defense motion to dismiss key defendants in a case who accused the Gutierrez family of supplying nearly a full case of beer to Krystal Hart, the driver in a fatal car accident Nov. 3, 2007.
Hart was criminally convicted of drinking the beer before she killed Everardo Chimal-Lopez while driving on Highway H.
Last October, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estate of Chimal-Lopez, formerly of Delavan.
Chimal-Lopez, 54, was driving to pick up his two sons from work when Hart crossed the center line and struck his vehicle head on, killing him, according to a criminal complaint.
Hart, formerly of Genoa City, is serving a seven-year prison term at Taycheedah Correctional Institute in Fond du Lac for homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.
The Elkhorn law firm of Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth filed the suit, which contends the Gutierrez family provided alcohol to underage drinkers at a party and sent Hart home with nearly a full case of beer.
Defense lawyers asked Race to dismiss the Gutierrez family from the suit after depositions found the beer Hart ingested could not have been from a drinking party at the Gutierrez home.
In a sworn deposition last month, Gutierrez said she did not throw a drinking party on or near that date at her home, N3354 University Road. Hart admitted in deposition that she didn’t know what where the beer came from, but she recalled it was from a party with a lot of Mexicans.
According to the lawsuit and court records from the Elkhorn law firm, Hart admitted stealing the nearly full case of beer with the help of a male companion. During his deposition, the companion denied being at the Gutierrez home, denied ever being with Hart and denied helping her steal beer.
With the Gutierrez family and its insurance companies dismissed from the lawsuit, the future of the legal action is unknown.