MILWAUKEE -- Investigators say the man accused of killing off-duty Milwaukee Police Officer Kou Her in a crash had been drinking all day long. Charges were filed against 34-year-old Dante James on Friday, June 21.
James is charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, hit-and-run involving death and operating while revoked.
According to a criminal complaint, James started work at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 17 and was immediately escorted to a hospital on suspicion he'd been drinking. A preliminary breath test revealed a result of .176. James was terminated as a result.
After being fired, James told investigators he went to his cousin's house, "had some shots," and then drove to a bar. At the bar, James said he had two beers and a shot before he was kicked out.
Early Tuesday morning, June 18, prosecutors say James was still drunk and back behind the wheel. Police say he blew a red light near 60th and Capitol, struck and killed Officer Her as he was on his way home from his police shift.
Court documents show James ran from the scene but was soon arrested nearby stumbling, bleeding and smelling of alcohol.
During an interview with police, James admitted to being in the crash and to drinking earlier that day.
Fatal crash near 60th and Capitol in Milwaukee
Milwaukee Police Officer Kou Her
James has four previous OWI convictions spanning from 2006 to 2018. His license was revoked until 2021.
A FOX6 Investigation found James had just been stopped for speeding on April 28 at 60th and Nash, two blocks south of Tuesday's fatal crash scene. He was fined $174. According to online court records, his driver's license was revoked for three years. There was no indication he was ticketed or criminally charged for driving while revoked.
The crash that killed Officer Her sparked outrage from city leaders and caused heartache for his family.
"My whole heart -- my world is torn apart right now," said Kong Her, Officer Her's brother.
The 27-year-old served on the department for two years, and also served as a role model in the local Hmong community.