A Park Rapids man involved in a fatal crash on his way home from Moondance Jam last summer has been charged with six counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide and Injury in the death of a Backus woman and injuries to her daughter and grandchild.
The criminal complaint states Dean James Roehler, 22, was on a combination of alcohol and a powerful sedative called Midazolam when his westbound vehicle veered across the centerline of Highway 34 and struck an eastbound minivan head-on July 14.
Patricia Ann Borman, 52, the driver of the minivan, died at the scene. The accident occurred near Evening Drive and Highway 34 east of Park Rapids. Borman's daughter and grandchild received non-life threatening injuries, according to the State Patrol. Both drivers required extrication.
Roehler was severely injured and airlifted to a Fargo hospital. His alcohol content was initially listed as .05 percent, but a blood test later indicated a .095 percent at the time of the accident and a .086 percent upon arrival at the hospital two hours later.
Monday morning he limped into court after being served by a summons to appear.
He said he is not able to work yet due to his injuries.
Although Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne asked for bail in the amount of $50,000 unconditional and $25,000 with conditions, Judge Paul Rasmussen let Roehler leave without imposing bail.
Roehler is to remain law-abiding, make all court appearances, refrain from the use of alcohol or drugs and stay out of bars.
Roehler told the judge he was unsure if he would retain private counsel or ask for a public defender.
According to the National Institutes of Health, "Midazolam is given to children before medical procedures or before anesthesia for surgery to cause drowsiness, relieve anxiety, and prevent any memory of the event. Midazolam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow relaxation and sleep. It is usually given as a single dose by a doctor or nurse before a medical procedure or surgery."
The NIH cautions that mixing Midazolam with alcohol can intensify the effect of the sedative.
Two of Roehler's counts involving Patricia Borman's death are serious felonies, each punishable by a maximum of 10 years and/or a $20,000 fine.
Two counts involving Alicia Borman's injuries each carry a maximum penalty of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine. The remaining two counts, involving Alicia's child, each are punishable by a maximum of 1 year and/or a $3,000 fine upon conviction.
Although Roehler told Rasmussen he had a clean criminal record, he has two prior offenses, both relatively minor, one involving a semaphore violation and one of underage drinking.
His next court appearance is Dec. 19.
Borman's relatives have retained a Minneapolis personal injury law firm to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Roehler. The firm contacted the Enterprise for past stories.