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Woman hurt by alleged 2-time drunk driver gets support from his mom

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KENOSHA -- Jesse Liddell of Kenosha pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, Sept. 12 to a charge of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle -- suspected of driving drunk twice in one night. The woman investigators say he nearly killed said she wants changes to the law, and she's getting support from Liddell's own mother.

According to the criminal complaint, Liddell, 25, was cited by the Pleasant Prairie Police Department for OWI around 2:25 a.m. on Aug. 9. His BAC registered a .13. Liddell's mother signed a responsibility agreement which indicated she would not let her son operate a vehicle in the next 12 hours -- and Liddell was released to his mother around 4:20 a.m.

The complaint indicates a half-hour later, Kenosha officers responded to a three-vehicle crash with injuries near Highway 50 and 60th Avenue. Jennifer Kilburn was trapped in one of the vehicles -- and suffered critical injuries.

Jennifer Kilburn

"My diaphragm had ruptured. My intestines went into my chest. I woke up in the ICU. I had a chest tube," said Kilburn.

After five surgeries, doctors said it'll be months before Kilburn, an avid runner and nurse, will be able to walk again.

"Just doing my normal route, and honestly don't remember anything about the accident," said Kilburn.

She was on her way to work when a witness told officers Liddell failed to stop for a red light controlling eastbound traffic on Highway 50. The witness said Liddell's car T-boned Kilburn's car. The witness' car was damaged when the stoplight struck by Kilburn's car fell onto his fender.

"I woke up two days later. I was in the hospital. I was in the ICU at Froedtert," said Kilburn.

Jesse Liddell

Norma Cavazos

FOX6 News spoke with Norma Cavazos, Liddell's mother, who said she picked up her son from the Pleasant Prairie Police Department after he was booked for the first OWI.

"I just assumed he was going to go to bed and go to sleep -- and he got sneaky," said Cavazos.

She said her son found his keys while she slept, and took off.

"The only reason I went to pick him up is because I thought he was going to behave and stay home," said Cavazos.

Jesse Liddell

According to the criminal complaint, after the crash, Liddell "made statements regarding how he had messed up by getting two OWIs in one night." He told the officer "to just arrest him." The officer "smelled the odor of intoxicants emanating from (Liddell)." The complaint says Liddell was unable to walk in a straight line and was walking side to side. Liddell "indicated he drank two 'normal-sized' Malibu and pineapple juice." He told officers a vehicle turned in front of him, causing the accident. When asked how Liddell got to his car, he told officers "he lied to his mother, and she can't control him."

Kilburn said it's time for new laws, restricting the immediate release of OWI suspects. She said she doesn't want anyone else to be in her position.

"I think the other reason I am here is I still have a purpose to be here.  I just think it is crazy someone can sign them out two hours after they have been arrested for drunk driving," said Kilburn.

"I agree. I think if people do get picked up for drunk driving, they should be held in jail for at least 12 hours or until they're sober," said Cavazos.

Liddell is scheduled to be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 25.

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