Crash kills woman, baby; Milwaukee man found guilty at trial

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee man was found guilty at trial on Wednesday in a crash that killed a woman and her baby.

The January crash just west of 76th and Brown Deer killed Monique Stewart and her baby. A jury convicted Akol Riak, 19, of six felonies in the case.

Court records show Riak is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

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Case details

According to a criminal complaint, Milwaukee police were called to the crash scene the night of Jan. 7. The first officer at the scene spotted an SUV with severe front end damage. A minivan involved in the wreck had severe damage to its passenger side.

<div>Akol Riak</div>
Akol Riak

Officers spoke with a witness who said she was driving east on Brown Deer Road approaching Servite Drive, per the complaint. She slowed down because her light was turning yellow and then red. At the same time, the witness said she saw a white Chevrolet SUV "fly" past her on the right. The SUV slammed into the minivan, which had been making a left turn onto Servite Drive.

The witness told police she pulled her vehicle up to the scene of the crash, the complaint states, and saw multiple victims. That included the front passenger in the minivan, identified as Monique Stewart.

The complaint states Stewart was eight months pregnant at the time of the crash. Stewart was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. Doctors conducted an emergency Cesarean section and delivered Stewart's baby – who passed away hours later.

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Investigators watched surveillance video from a Denny's restaurant near the scene of the crash. According to the complaint, it showed the minivan enter the intersection of Brown Deer and Servite. At the same time, a white SUV entered the video "at what appears to be a very high rate of speed" and crashed into the minivan.

<div>Monique Stewart</div>
Monique Stewart

The day after the crash, a Milwaukee police detective interviewed Riak – who had been taken to a hospital after the crash and arrested. He admitted he was the driver of the SUV at the time of the crash, the complaint states. He also told police that, at the time he was approaching the intersection, he saw the minivan turning in front of him and "he could not stop because it was too late."

When asked how fast he was going at the time of impact, Riak told police "he did not know exactly, but estimated he was going 45 mph," per the complaint. He later admitted he was going "way faster than the posted speed limit" when informed there was surveillance video of the crash.

<div>Fatal crash at Brown Deer and Servite, Milwaukee</div>
Fatal crash at Brown Deer and Servite, Milwaukee

Investigators had the airbag control module from Riak's SUV downloaded. It showed the SUV was going 86 mph two-and-a-half seconds before the crash, according to the complaint. At the time of impact, the SUV was traveling 82 mph. The posted speed limit on Brown Deer Road where the crash took place is 40 mph.

Four other people in the wreck were injured – including two children.