JUNEAU – A 22-year-old former Beaver Dam man was found guilty Monday of crashing into Beaver Dam Middle School and causing more than $2 million of damage to the building.
Roy Cortez pleaded no contest to a felony charge of fleeing or eluding an officer causing damage to property. Cortez, who has been held in the Dodge County Jail since the incident, could face up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Cortez, who appeared before Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Brian Pfitzinger, will be sentenced Feb. 17.
The entire school was closed for days after the crash Aug. 21 as cleanup and damage assessment took place. The crash damaged the school’s brick wall and started an electrical transformer on fire. Water used to put out the fire entered the building and was under the gym floor.
Beaver Dam Unified School District Superintendent Mark DiStefano said the school gym that was damaged in the crash will be used by students beginning Thursday. The school district will file an insurance claim to pay for the damage.
According to the criminal complaint, Cortez did not stop when Beaver Dam police attempted to pull him over Aug. 21 and drove 50-60 mph around the streets of Beaver Dam before he crashed into the school after driving down Grove Street. Police estimated the car was traveling 80-90 mph when it hit the building.
According to the criminal complaint, Cortez was involved in a domestic abuse situation at his home in the 800 block of North Center Street at 11:15 p.m. A 30-year-old woman at the house said he had broken a window there after he was locked out. The woman said he was intoxicated.
Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.
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