(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam woman guilty of Vehicular Homicide by Intoxicated Use of a Motor Vehicle was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday. In August, Cindy Lara-Esparza entered a no contest plea to the felony charge, two additional felony counts were dismissed but read into the record. In April of 2019, Lara-Esparza was driving when her vehicle went off Madison Street Bridge and into the Beaver Dam River which resulted in the death of a passenger.
Authorities were dispatched to the area near Ryan Cantafio’s Way, behind Park Plaza Pizza, at 1:52am. Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said that the vehicle was upside down in the river when officers jumped in, encountering waist-deep water and strong currents. The officers were able to get the driver’s side door open and remove Lara-Esparza. The 24-year-old sustained non-life-threatening injuries but her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jared Frakes, was killed.
Acquaintances told police the couple were having drinks earlier that night at Johnny’s Lounge. According to the criminal complaint, the bartender working that night said he (quote) “felt like they shouldn’t be driving.” Lara-Esparza consented to a blood draw to test for alcohol in her system which returned a result of point-two-one-two (.212).
At sentencing District Attorney Kurt Klomberg said the defendant killed the victim, placed the entire public in danger and caused Beaver Dam police officers to risk their lives to save her. He says the officers did not hesitate to jump into the freezing and rushing water, adding that in his opinion they are nothing short of heroes. Lara-Esparza was also placed on extended supervision for ten years.