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Dennis Thomas pleads not guilty in hit-and-run crash that killed young woman

Dennis Thomas

MILWAUKEE — Dennis Thomas pleaded not guilty on Thursday, April 18 to multiple charges in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that happened near Teutonia and Oriole earlier this month.

Thomas, 30, faces one count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, one count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration and one count of hit-and-run resulting in death. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday — before entering the not guilty pleas.

Dennis Thomas

According to a criminal complaint, the crash involved two vehicles — a Honda Odyssey minivan and a Scion TC. The driver of the Scion, Latisha Durpree, had to be extricated from the vehicle due to significant damage. She was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 3 a.m. An autopsy revealed she suffered blunt force trauma and died from multiple traumatic injuries.

Latisha Durpree

Latisha Durpree

A security guard told investigators he saw Thomas walking near Teutonia and Florist, and made contact with him. The complaint said Thomas told the security guard he was the owner and driver of the van, and he said, “Man, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt no one.” He said he didn’t stop because he has “two previous OWIs.” The security guard took him back to the scene of the crash — where he was turned over to police.

Thomas was taken to the hospital for a blood draw. An analysis revealed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .218 — nearly three times the legal limit.

Fatal hit-and-run at Teutonia and Oriole

Fatal hit-and-run at Teutonia and Oriole

Fatal hit-and-run at Teutonia and Oriole

Fatal hit-and-run at Teutonia and Oriole

Thomas is due back on court on April 30 for a scheduling conference.

Dennis Thomas

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