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Man charged in fatal Cass Lake crash

BEMIDJI — A man suspected of causing the death of a Cass Lake couple has been charged with eight counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

Michael James Stangel, 27, was charged Friday for his alleged role in the deaths of Timothy and Lisa Collins, according to a press release from the Cass County Attorney’s Office. Bail was set by District Court Judge David F. Harrington at $750,000 without conditions and $500,000 with conditions. Stangel's next court date is May 27.

According to the release, the criminal complaint alleges Stangel had a blood-alcohol content of .33 percent, more than four times the legal limit, when his vehicle crossed the center line of County Road 75 north of Palace Casino and struck the Collins’ vehicle head-on.

The accident occurred just after 11 p.m. May 3 and Stangel was allegedly driving his Chevrolet Tahoe without headlights and interfering with traffic, the release states. A witness reported Stangel struck his car twice from behind, then activated his headlights as he passed at a high rate of speed, then causing the head-on crash with the Collins’ Kia Spectra, killing both Lisa Collins, 47, and Timothy Collins, 46.

Stangel and his passenger were both pinned in the Tahoe, the release states. Upon response of officers, they noted Stangel and his passenger both smelled of alcohol and there were multiple alcohol containers in the vehicle.