UPDATE: No charges filed in deadly Dubuque Co. UTV crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: No charges filed in deadly Dubuque Co. UTV crash

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Newly-available court documents show law enforcement officials suspected a driver may have been drunk when his pick-up truck crashed into a utility vehicle carrying four young teens -- but the driver has not yet been charged.

According to the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office, the crash happened around 1:30 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 2, when the driver of a pick-up truck ran a stop sign and collided with a Gator utility vehicle the four boys were riding. That was at the intersection of Hartbecke and East Pleasant Grove roads in Dubuque County.

The teens, all 14 years old, were identified as Bryce Wilwert of Placid (Dubuque County), Mitchell Kluesner of Epworth, Nick Kramer of Dyersville and Sean Kenneally of Peosta.

24-year-old Joe Connolly, of rural Holy Cross in Dubuque County, was the driver of the truck. He was uninjured in the crash, but his two passengers -- Joe Lucas, 25, of Epworth and Elissa Ericson, 21, of Cedar Rapids -- were both hurt.

An application for a search warrant on the day of the crash lists reasons why officials suspected Connolly may have been intoxicated at the time of the incident.

According to the document, Connolly admitted to an Epworth police officer he had been driving too fast and failed to stop for the stop sign, at which point he collided with the Gator utility vehicle.

The document says sheriff's officials found a cooler of beer in the pickup truck, an unsealed quarter-full bottle of vodka and, on the passenger side floor of the truck, a beer can.

Sheriff's deputy Tony Dalsing writes in the search warrant application Connolly had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath but that Connolly denied drinking that day, though Connolly did admit to drinking alcoholic beverages the night before.

Finally, the document reveals, Connolly failed two out of three standardized field sobriety tests at the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center administered by Deputy Dalsing, who writes the results were, "indicative of alcohol or drug impairment."

At approximately 5:30 p.m., four hours after the crash, Connolly refused a breathalyzer test for alcohol impairment.

Once signed by a judge around 6:10 p.m. that evening, the search warrant allowed the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office to obtain a blood sample from Connolly to test his blood alcohol content level.

In most Iowa cases, refusal to take a breath, blood or urine test is a violation of Iowa's implied consent law, and that results in a mandatory one-year revocation of the person's driver's license.

Court documents do not say what Connolly's blood alcohol content level was after the blood test.

Connolly has not been arrested and the county prosecutor's office has filed no charges against him yet.

Karen Thalacker, a local attorney, speculated that that might be because officials were putting together a case against him.

"Law enforcement officers know this is excruciating for family members, but they're just trying to make sure they get everything in line before filing any charges," she said.

The Dubuque County Sheriff's Office was referring all questions to Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter, who told KWWL no charges had been filed. Potter also said he wouldn't comment on if or when charges would be filed in the future.

A search of online court records, however, show Connolly has had a number of run-ins with the law. In 2010, for example, he pleaded guilty to operating an ATV while intoxicated. He was 20 years old at the time. Court documents show his blood alcohol content on that day was 0.24 -- three times the legal limit.

When he was 14, his earliest online court record, Connolly was found guilty of being a passenger in a vehicle with an open container of alcohol. Other charges range from intoxication and driving with a revoked license to having unlawfully tinted vehicle windows.

Some people questioned whether traffic sign placement at the intersection of the crash may have played a role in the incident. A no-passing-zone sign facing the opposite direction of traffic approaching the intersection does, indeed, obstruct the stop sign for a portion of Hartbecke Road. Suzette Smith, who said she's a long-time friend of the Connolly family, brought this to KWWL's attention last month. In light of the information in these court documents, Smith tells KWWL she still thinks the signs are poorly placed and reminds people Connolly is still neither arrested nor charged.

Related content:

http://www.kwwl.com/story/26182511/2014/08/02/4-dead-2-injured-after-dubuque-co-crash-involving-truck-utility-vehicle

KWWL's Becca Habegger and Amie Steffeneicher contributed to this report.

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