Suspect in fatal auto/pedestrian accident released from hospital to jail

posted by WKOW - 


MADISON (WKOW) -- The man who Madison police say was likely driving drunk when he hit an elderly couple walking their dog Friday evening has been released from the hospital.  Benjamin E. Cortes, 19, of Madison, has been transferred to the Dane County Jail, where he is being held.

The Dane County Sheriff's office says Cortes was released Sunday. 

Police say he a faces "a number of tentative charges," including homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, causing injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.  

The 72-year-old man who was hit died at the scene near Midvale Boulevard and Waite Lane around 8:00 p.m. Friday.

His 68-year-old wife was severely injured. As of Saturday night, police report that she was in critical but stable condition.  The couple's names have not yet been released. An autopsy for the elderly man is pending with the Dane County Medical Examiner's office. 

A 20-year-old woman who was in the car with Cortes was slightly injured in the crash and was also taken to the hospital. Her name hasn't been released.

Police say the couple's dog wasn't hurt in the incident. 

Investigators originally said speed was a factor in the collision and that Cortez likely hit the couple when he swerved to avoid hitting a car in front of him.  Nearby residents and community officials have said they've been trying for a while to get more help to patrol speeders in the neighborhood, as well as to get more safety traffic lights installed. 

Officials continue to investigate the crash. 

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