News – August 22, 2019

(Beaver Dam) Cash bond was set at $10-thousand dollars Thursday afternoon in a Dodge County courtroom for the suspect in a police chase that ended with a fiery car crash into the Beaver Dam Middle School. Roy Cortez is charged with felony Fleeing for the incident that started with a domestic abuse report around 11:15pm last night. Authorities located the suspects vehicle about 20 minutes later with the 22-year-old Beaver Dam man allegedly fleeing at a high rate of speed down Grove Street before leaving the roadway, striking an electrical transformer and smashing into the north side of the middle school, punching a hole in the brick and cinderblock structure. School Superintendent Mark DiStefano estimates the damage at well-over $100-thousand dollars though he is optimistic that classes will begin for the year as scheduled on Tuesday, September 3. A judge will decide next Thursday if there is enough evidence for Cortez to proceed to trial.

(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam woman charged with vehicular homicide is heading to trial after waiving her right to a preliminary hearing yesterday (Wednesday). Cindy Lara-Esparza was reportedly the driver 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 bar closing time in April. Cindy Lara-Esparza sustained non-life-threatening injuries but her 23-year-old boyfriend, Jared Frakes, was killed. Both Lara-Esparza and Frakes were reportedly drinking at Johnny’s Lounge the night of the accident. A blood draw from Lara-Esparza allegedly returned a result of point-two-one-two (.212). If convicted on both charges, the 23-year-old faces no more than 50 years in prison. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for October 2.

(Waupun) One of the Waupun men accused of robbing the National Exchange Bank and Trust in Glenbeulah entered a not guilty plea at arraignment yesterday in Sheboygan County court. Washington County Sheriff’s deputies caught the 36-year-old Smith and another Waupun man during a high-risk traffic stop the same day as the August 9th robbery. Washington County Sheriff’s investigators believe Smith may have been involved in the April robbery of a National Exchange branch in Allenton.

(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam man serving ten years in prison for supplying the drugs that led to an overdose death still as more crimes to answer to. In March, a jury convicted Brain K. Larson II of First Degree Reckless Homicide by Delivery of Drugs. 25-year-old Dakoda Kline of Juneau died of an overdose in April of 2017. The 30-year-old Larson was also facing felony charges for selling heroin in March of 2015 but that count was severed from the homicide case. Another jury will decide Larson’s fate in that case during a two-day trial in March.

(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Walmart is suing the city over its tax bill. The big box store is hoping to lower the property taxes on both their super-center and distribution center. Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen says Walmart has already requested to have the property reassessed. She says an additional $60,000 fell onto Beaver Dam taxpayers following Wal-Mart’s first reassessment. She says another reduction could reach the six-figure amount which would have a notable impact on equalized property values. The lawsuit stems from a tax loophole called the dark store concept. Bigger retailers want their property assessed as if no one is operating in them which would lower how much they would pay in property taxes. Those unpaid taxes would then fall onto local taxpayers in the municipalities where those retailers are located.

(Beaver Dam) The public comment period is open for those wanting to weigh-in on the city plan to drop the water level of Beaver Dam Lake over the winter. The city held a public hearing in June and advanced a revised “water level order” to the DNR. The agency established a 30-day period for comments from the public effective August 7 which remains open through the first week in September.  Currently, there is a draw down for four weeks in the spring. The proposed change would keep the lake at a lower level from mid-October until mid-April, or whenever the lake is free of ice. More information about the public comment period can be found with this news story at

(Beaver Dam) A review of Beaver Dam’s Capital Improvement Plan planned for this past Monday been has been delayed until next month so that the mayor can meet individually with the entire city council. The CIP maps out street projects, infrastructure improvements and equipment purchases over five years while focusing on spending for the upcoming budget. After the individual meetings with each elected official over the next week or two, the document would then be brought back to the committees for more discussion.