Intoxicants a factor as 89-year-old great grandmother killed in crash, driver has 5 OWIs on record

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Wisconsin family is grieving after an 89-year-old great-grandmother was killed in a Kenosha crash this past weekend.

The man charged in the crash has five previous OWI convictions on his record, and police say intoxicants were a factor in the crash.

It happened at the intersection of 120th Avenue and 38th Street in Kenosha. Marilyn Kutzler and her husband John were driving through last Saturday morning.

When the intersection was clear John drove through, but 41-year-old Steven Falls allegedly did not stop and slammed into Marilyn's passenger side.

Falls wasn't supposed to be behind the wheel.

Margie Burba, Marilyn and John's daughter, said, "My parents were adorable. That's the one thing my dad says, he goes he is going to miss her so much. They've been combined at the hip for years."

Burba said her mother was a woman of faith, who lived her life according to strong values and with a good sense of humor.

She met her husband John when they each stood up in a wedding years ago.

Burba said, "They went out and immediately were comfortable with each other, which I just love to hear my dad talk about that."

They had their first child soon after they married. Burba said, "Then they had more children, and more children, and more children. Ended up with 10, five boys and five girls."

Margie says it was a busy house, but a happy one. "They came together and had us ten kids and really raised us with faith, and with great values, and respect for each other."

They moved to Kenosha about 20 years ago, and this past January they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

But Marilyn's life was cut short last weekend.

After Falls allegedly crashed into the Kutzler's car Saturday, he ran from the scene, was arrested shortly after, and later admitted to using heroin the night before the crash.

Burba said, "The anger goes beyond him, just to everybody that had a hand in this."

Marilyn died the next day.

Falls has five OWIs on his record. In Wisconsin drivers can lose their license forever on a fourth OWI if it's committed within 15 years of the prior offense.

Falls' license was revoked in 2013 after his fifth OWI and was never reinstated.

Glenn Gaskill, an attorney with Grieve Law, said, "When we're getting up to higher level OWIs, simply having a revoked license generally isn't going to have a big impact on their decision to drive."

So while Falls sits in jail, Marilyn Kutzler's family is relying on each other.

Burba said, "My mom's motto was 'what are you going to do about it? We're going to stick together, we're going to get through it, and there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.'"

Marilyn's funeral will be held Thursday.

Steven Falls' preliminary hearing is scheduled for exactly one week later on August 4th as he faces five felony counts and a misdemeanor.

Margie Burba plans to be there.

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