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Wilmar man, 27, facing assault charge for crash that sent two pregnant women to the hospital

WILLMAR -- A 27-year-old Willmar man made his first appearance Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court on a second-degree assault charge for allegedly using a vehicle as a dangerous weapon in a drunken-driving crash early Sunday morning.

Luis Alfredo Perez Lopez faces three gross misdemeanor charges of criminal vehicular operation and misdemeanor driving while impaired charges.

Unconditional bail was set at $30,000 with conditional bail at $2,000 cash. He was ordered to have no contact with the victims, not drive and possess no weapons. His next court appearance is Jan. 4.

According to the complaint, Willmar police were called around 1:20 a.m. Sunday to a motor vehicle crash at the intersection of Business 71 and Civic Center Drive. They arrived to find two smashed vehicles, one with rear-end damage, the other with front-end damage.

Through an interpreter, the driver of the first vehicle informed the officers the car's occupants had left a local club and was northbound on Highway 71 when the vehicle was struck from behind and pushed across the median into a light pole.

Two pregnant women riding in the backseat were transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Another officer responding to the scene saw a man walking aw-ay on the east side of the highway and stopped him to ask if he'd been involved in the crash.

He was identified as Perez Lopez and exhibited signs of alcohol consumption.

He admitted driving the second car involved in the crash and was arrested. A blood-alcohol test revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.19.

He was interviewed through an interpreter and said he'd been drinking and that his girlfriend had left the bar with another man, which upset him. He claimed he was looking for the vehicle she left in when his vehicle ran into the vehicle in front of him. He said he didn't intend to strike the other vehicle.

The women were interviewed at the hospital.

One woman, pregnant with Perez Lopez's child, reported she had broken off a relationship with him and that she had gotten a ride from the club with someone else because Perez Lopez was too drunk to drive. She said he had threatened her life a week earlier.

The other pregnant woman said Perez Lopez got out of his vehicle after the crash, hollered something at them and walked away.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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