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Waukesha teen faces homicide charge in connection to negligent driving death

WAUKESHA — An 18-year-old Waukesha man has been charged with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle.

According to a criminal complaint, Daniel Lazaro was driving a van at Minooka County Park in the Town of Waukesha on June 9, 2019 with another person riding on the outside of the van. That person fell off the car onto the paved parking lot and was taken to the hospital where he died on June 10. An autopsy later revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Lazaro, the deceased and three others were together at the time of the incident. One of the other individuals told police that the group was on a “chill drive” when the deceased opened the door and proceeded to partially hang outside of the van while in the parking lot to “feel the air” when he fell out. Lazaro stopped the van and the group went to the deceased who was bleeding and unresponsive on the parking lot pavement. They placed him in the van and drove him to the hospital for treatment.

Another person in the van at the time of the incident told police that the deceased was holding onto the van’s roof rack with his feet still on the floor of the van before he fell off. That person estimated the driver, Lazaro, was going around 20 or 25 miles per hour at the time and making “normal” turns.

The complaint states that Lazaro confirmed that the deceased was holding onto the van’s roof rack while he was driving, that he had done so five or six times in the past and that he did not intentionally cause him to fall off the van. Lazaro also stated that they were “just trying to be boys” and that he wasn’t really paying attention because he was driving.

Lazaro was 17 at the time of the incident.

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