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Driver gets 10 years for fleeing crash that killed Brown Deer pedestrians

March 26, 2012

A driver who struck and killed an elderly Brown Deer couple as they walked along a road in Mequon last year was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison.

Daniel J. Fagan, 37, was charged in January 2011 with two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and two counts of hit-and-run resulting in death for the Jan. 2 crash that killed Emiliya Krol, 69, and her husband, Leonid Krol, 72, as they walked in the 4700 block of W. County Line Road.

Last month, prosecutors agreed to drop the negligent homicide charges after Fagan pleaded guilty to the hit-and-run counts.

On Monday, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul V. Malloy sentenced Fagan to two consecutive five year prison terms, and added 14 years of supervision after Fagan is released. Fagan, who also lived on County Line Road, is eligible for the earned release program after eight years in prison.

Fagan had been free on $50,000 bail until he entered the guilty pleas last month.

Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol had recommended 12 years in prison, followed by 13 years of extended supervision. A presentence report suggested eight years. The maximum penalty was 30 years.

Gerol said there was no evidence suggesting Fagan - who had a history of drunken driving - was impaired when he struck the Krols, and that poor lighting, a bad curve and the lack of a shoulder on the road all probably contributed to the wreck.

Malloy even noted that if Fagan hadn't left the scene, he might have only gotten a ticket.

Fagan's attorney contacted Mequon police about a day a half later to say he'd been involved, just as investigators were closing in on him as a suspect based on parts of his black 2001 Chevy Blazer recovered at the crash scene.

Fagan told police he did stop after striking the couple, but saw no signs of life in either of them, and then panicked. The couple died instantly, Gerol said.

Michael Penkwitz, Fagan's attorney, said his client has been remorseful, and told Malloy he still doesn't understand or know why he left the scene.

"No doubt - the statute's there for a reason," Penkwitz said. "If you leave, it's all over."

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