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Friends gather to remember Beaver Dam River crash victim (copy)

Cindy Esparza places photos of her boyfriend, Jared Frakes, on the bridge during a memorial three days after his death. Esparza was driving an SUV when it went into the water near the intersection of Madison Street and Ryan Cantafio's Way on April 2. Esparza faces charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. 

JUNEAU — A 23-year-old Beaver Dam woman was charged Wednesday with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle after her boyfriend was killed when the vehicle she was driving crashed into the Beaver Dam River and flipped upside down.

Cindy Lara Esparza could face 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of the charge.

According to the criminal complaint, Beaver Dam emergency workers were dispatched to the bridge on Madison Street near Ryan Cantafio’s Way on April 2 at 2 a.m. for a Jeep Patriot that had crashed into the river. The vehicle appeared to have driven off of Madison Street and through the guardrail into the river.

Esparza was in the driver’s seat and Jared Frakes, who was later pronounced dead at Beaver Dam Community Hospital, was in the passenger seat. According to the criminal complaint, when officers arrived at the scene, the vehicle was upside down and was almost completely submerged. An officer jumped down off the retaining wall down onto the rocks. The officer called for a rope because of the current in the water.

Other officers arrived at the scene and they reached the vehicle, but had difficulty breaking the window because of the conditions in the water. According to the complaint, an officer gained entry to the vehicle after opening the rear driver’s side door, when he saw a car seat in the vehicle. The driver’s side door was opened and Esparza was rescued from the car. An officer smelled alcohol on Esparza while taking her to the shore.

The Beaver Dam Fire Department dive team was needed to reach Frakes on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Both were taken to Beaver Dam Community Hospital.

According to the criminal complaint, two people who had been with Esparza and Frakes earlier that night told officers that the couple had been drinking at Johnny’s Lounge and Esparza drank a mixed drink and about four or five shots of tequila. The two arrived at the bar between 10 and 11:30 p.m.

A woman who had been with them said one of them told her they were too drunk to drive and were going to get a ride home. According to the criminal complaint, the woman said after she went back inside, she heard sirens and noticed the two were no longer in the bar.

Esparza allegedly agreed to her blood being drawn to test for alcohol while she was at the hospital.

Police also received a video from Johnny’s Lounge that showed Esparza getting into the driver’s side seat of the Jeep outside the tavern and Frakes getting into the front passenger seat. Police also saw on a video from Johnny’s Lounge that the two were drinking at the tavern.

Police got results from Esparza’s blood draw on April 30, which showed a blood-alcohol level of .212, more than double the legal limit of .08.

An initial hearing for Esparza is scheduled for June 24.

Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.

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