Beaver Dam Middle School will be closed for the time being.

A fiery car crash into the school on Wednesday night left damage estimated at more than $100,000 to clean up, and the school will be closed until further notice as those efforts continue, according to an email message to parents from Beaver Dam Unified School District Communications Officer Nicole White.

The district is still planning to have school start Sept. 3.

“The extent of the necessary cleanup has grown to be more complex than originally anticipated, and it is of utmost importance to ensure the cleanup is done at a level to protect the safety of our student body and staff family,” White said in the email.

The open house that was scheduled for Tuesday was postponed. The volleyball team will have an informational meeting at the end of the first day of school. The team will practice in the high school field house with transportation provided. Nothing has changed with cross country and football.

Roy Cortez, a 22-year-old Beaver Dam man, has been charged in Dodge County Circuit Court with a felony count of fleeing an officer causing damage to property. Prosecutors allege he sped off in his vehicle while intoxicated after a woman locked him out of her home and he broke a window there.

According to the criminal complaint, Cortez allegedly increased his vehicle’s speed to avoid a responding police officer through Beaver Dam streets before slamming into the north side of the middle school. The car burst into flames.

The vehicle made contact with utility equipment and a wall, leaving a gigantic gash in the school. District officials originally made a conservative estimate of $100,000 worth of damage to fix structural, water, fire and smoke damage. The district is insured for these kinds of situations.

Cortez has a $10,000 cash bond. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and chiggins@wiscnews.com.

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