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SCHUYLER — The driver in a June 2016 crash that killed a 15-year-old Schuyler girl is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 8 after pleading no contest to manslaughter.

Angel Lopez, 23, entered his plea Wednesday in Colfax County District Court as part of a deal with the prosecution, which dismissed charges of driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury, second-offense DUI, second-offense reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle during revocation.

Lopez, who faces up to 20 years in prison for the Class 2A felony, was behind the wheel of a 2005 Honda Accord that slammed into a tree shortly after 11 p.m. June 15, 2016, along West Sixth Street in Schuyler.

Isabella Brandt, a passenger in the vehicle, was pronounced dead shortly after the crash and a 15-year-old boy who was also inside the Honda required 14 staples to close a gash on his head.

According to court documents, Lopez and the teens were parked in the picnic area near the Oak Ballroom when a Schuyler Police officer attempted to make contact to notify them of the park curfew.

The vehicle drove away, and the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, which led to a brief pursuit before the officer ended the chase.

A crash involving the same Honda Accord occurred a few minutes later near the intersection of West Sixth and Elk streets when the vehicle drove over the curb and struck a tree head-on.

Lopez, who had to be extricated from the wrecked vehicle, was transported by ambulance to CHI Health Schuyler then flown to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha for treatment.

An affidavit supporting his arrest says Lopez told an emergency room nurse at the Schuyler hospital he had “like 10 beers” that night. Officers also found a half-empty bottle of tequila inside his vehicle, the document states.

Lopez was arrested in Schuyler the week before the fatal accident for DUI, driving during revocation and procuring alcohol to a minor following a traffic stop that involved the same teenage boy injured in the crash.

Three months earlier, the Schuyler man was convicted of DUI in Platte County and had his license revoked for one year.

He also has previous convictions in Nebraska for reckless driving in 2014, driving under suspension twice in 2013 and driving under revocation in 2014 and May 2016, according to court documents.



Tyler Ellyson is editor of The Columbus Telegram.

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