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Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2005

Driver pleads no contest in death

23-year-old faces up to 14 years

July 16, 2005

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A Lawrence man entered a plea Friday to striking and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in April.

Adan S. Cruz, 23, faces roughly between five and 14 years in prison for his role in the April 9 death of Jodie Hatzenbihler, a 25-year-old nurse from Olathe who was walking across the street with friends after leaving Cadillac Ranch, 2515 W. Sixth St.

Standing in court wearing a red jail jumpsuit, Cruz pleaded no contest to one count of involuntary manslaughter and to second-time driving while intoxicated. He faces between 62 and 172 months in prison.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Angela Wilson said Cruz's blood-alcohol content after the wreck was 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit for driving. According to a police report, officers also believed Hatzenbihler was under the influence of alcohol, but Cruz's actions were listed as a more significant factor.

Hatzenbihler was a nurse at University of Kansas Hospital, where she was up for a new-nurse-of-the-year award.

Prosecutors dismissed a charge of leaving the scene of an injury accident as part of a plea agreement.

Judge Robert Fairchild scheduled Cruz's sentencing for Aug. 16.

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