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Bail posted for driver in pedestrian crash that killed one, critically injured another

MADISON, Wis. - The driver accused of killing one pedestrian and critically injuring another in a crash on Midvale Boulevard Friday night was released from custody Wednesday. 

Officials with the Dane County Sheriff's Office said that 19-year-old Benjamin Cortes' bond was posted around 5 p.m. and he was taken out of custody. The cash bond was set at $10,000, despite the state's request for it to be set at $50,000. 

Cortes cannot drive a motor vehicle, leave Dane County, contact the victims' family or have alcohol or any controlled substance now that he has been released. 

A criminal complaint cites vehicle data that suggests Cortes was traveling at dangerous a speed of about 102 mph moments before he lost control and hit Patty and Greg Nametz. The speed limit on Midvale Boulevard is 30 mph.

Greg Nametz, 72, died instantly and Patty Nametz, 68, was "clinging to life" Friday night. Their dog ran away from the crash, and was found uninjured after the crash. 

According to the complaint, Cortes' 20-year-old female passenger begged him to slow down as he sped northbound. She told police she felt the car lift from the ground as it cleared a hill near Cherokee Middle School. The passenger suffered a broken finger as a result of the crash.

Whether or not Cortes was impaired at the time of the crash remains a question. Prosecutors say he admitted to smoking marijuana earlier that day and that marijuana was found in the car along with more than $4,000 in cash and Mike's Hard Liquor. 

Cortes is facing charges including homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving causing great bodily harm and reckless driving causing bodily harm. The charges could change or more could be added as further toxicology reports are conducted. 

Patty Nametz continues to fight for her life and is in critical but stable condition. According to the complaint, she has damage to every organ in her body except her heart. 

Cortes broke his pelvis and vertebrae in the crash, is due back in court on May 21 for a status conference. 


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