Driver charged in crash that killed father, daughter from Racine County

25-year-old Levi Ruohonen accused of driving drunk
Posted at 1:41 PM, Nov 28, 2016

RACINE COUNTY -- The man accused of killing a father and daughter from Racine County in a drunk driver crash has been officially charged.

Levi G. Ruohonen, 25, faces two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, as well as one count of operating while intoxicated causing injury - second and subsequent offense. 

Ruohonen is accused of killing 39-year-old Kevin Dalley and 9-year-old Emily Dalley when he rear-ended them while drunk last Friday.

According to investigators, Ruohonen's pick-up truck was speeding when he hit the Dalley family in a sedan. Another 6-year-old daughter survived the crash.

"When our officers got there they tried to render aid to the little girl and the father, sadly the little girl was already deceased on scene," said Lt. Gary Larsen.

According to a criminal complaint, officers arrived to the scene and attempted to talk to Ruohonen and asked for his driver's license. The officer reported smelling a strong odor of intoxicants and said Ruohonen's "motor function appeared to be so impaired that he never actually was able to pull a card out of his wallet." 

Later, when Ruohonen was interviewed at the jail, the criminal complaint said he told officers what he did prior to the accident. At 7 a.m., he returned home from his third-shift at We Energies. At 9:05 a.m., he left to play a hockey game where he told officers he drank 3-4 beers. He left the hockey game at 1 p.m. and went to a strip club where he reportedly drank another 1-2 beers. At 4 p.m., he said he left the strip club, telling police he "didn't make it home." 

Lynn Davis, who knows the Dalley family from church, said  Kevin and his two daughters were heading back from Chicago when the crash happened. She says the 6-year-old girl who survived the crash was released from the hospital and only lost a baby tooth as a result of the crash. 

The Dalley family released a statement over the weekend, thanking first responders and requesting privacy. They also said: "We recognize that this tragedy touches the lives of more than just our family. We are grateful for all of the love and support we have received in these trying times."

Ruohonen faces up to 86 years in prison if convicted of all counts. If you'd like to contribute to the Kevin and Emily Dalley Memorial Fund, you can do so here.

Ruohonen is under watch by the mental health staff concerning his well-being and that this is a horrible horrible tragedy," said Craig Mastantuono, Ruohonen's attorney. Mastantuono says his client is originally from Michigan but has lived and worked in Racine the last six years. He was convicted on a DUI offense in 2011. He remains in jail on a $50,000 cash bond.