(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam man was ordered Monday to pay over $2-million dollars in restitution and serve 32 months in jail for crashing into the Beaver Dam Middle School. In December, Roy Cortez entered a no contest plea to a felony charge of Fleeing. Cortez was said to be traveling up to 90-miles-per-hour when he struck an electrical transformer before punching a seven-foot-by-30-foot hole in the brick building on August 21st. School officials says the damages exceeded $2-million dollars.
Beaver Dam School District Superintendent Mark DiStefano spoke at sentencing and got choked up when expressing the challenges students of the school had to endure. He says students were unable to use an entire hallway of their school and had no locker rooms to change in or keep clean clothes. DiStefano says while he is proud of the work done by students and staff through the disruption, this incident negatively impacted the start of an entire school year. He adds that the area of the school that was struck holds great sentimental value to the district. DiStefano says the area is not some random wall for some random building but rather a wall for an iconic school built in 1922 that sits in the center of the community.
The incident started with a domestic dispute. Cortez was kicked out of another Beaver Dam residence in early August and was living with a friend. She told authorities that he had a hard time accepting that they were only friends. She felt threatened as he became agitated. He left the apartment briefly and she locked him out. That’s when Cortez smashed a window to regain entry and authorities were called. Assistant District Attorney Yolanda Tienstra says Cortez would have faced more (quote) “manageable offenses” if he had only stopped when police began their pursuit.
Cortez gave a brief statement and apologized for his actions. He says he takes full responsibility for what happened. Cortez says he ruined for students and faculty a school year where they could not properly use the facility. He added that he understands the hatred all of Beaver Dam has for him.
Cortez was also placed on extended supervision for three years. The restitution amount he was ordered to pay is $2,196,243.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Brian Pfitzinger credited the community of Beaver Dam for rallying together to get the middle school open in time for the upcoming school year.