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Fargo man who bought alcohol for teens is sentenced in fatal crash

FARGO - A 34-year-old Fargo man was sentenced Monday to six months in jail after he pleaded guilty to supplying the liquor consumed by the 16-year-old driver in a fatal car accident last fall.

Fred Davis Jr. admitted he bought two bottles of 99-proof schnapps for a trio of teenagers who supplied the alcohol for a bonfire party 17-year-old Tyler Tweten was at before he died from chest and abdominal injuries in the one-car crash.

Tweten, a junior at Fargo South High School, died on Oct. 16 after the accident at the corner of 11th Avenue North and Seventh Street, about three blocks away from the site of the bonfire.

Police allege the driver in the crash, 16-year-old Erin Noehre, was found to have a 0.06 percent blood alcohol concentration after the crash. She is also alleged to have said, "Watch this," just before speeding through the turn and hitting a tree.

Noehre has been charged with manslaughter in Cass County's juvenile court in connection with the deadly crash. In a March hearing, prosecutors argued to try the case in adult court, but it's not clear if the decision on whether to transfer it has been made.

The prosecutor handling the Noehre case, Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Tracy Peters, did not return a message Monday.

Court records don't show any manslaughter charges against Noehre in adult court, and juvenile court cases aren't public. Prosecutors did reveal elements of the juvenile case in the transfer hearing because those arguments are public.

Police reports filed with the charges against Davis claim he confirmed to cops he was the man shown in a Bottle Barn surveillance photo buying the alcohol.

One of the three teenagers who police say picked up the alcohol from Davis told officers he was a boyfriend of one of the teens' aunts, police reports say.

The names of the three teenagers are redacted in the police reports.

Reid Brady, an assistant Cass County state's attorney, said the 180-day jail term he recommended was stiffer than normal for the charge of delivery of alcohol to prohibited persons, a Class A misdemeanor.

The longer sentence was sought be-cause of Tweten's death and the danger of providing high-proof booze to people so young. One of the three teenagers was 15 years old, Brady said.

"This was foreseeable," Brady said.

Since the fatal crash, said Lt. Joel Vettel, police have put a greater emphasis on tracking down people who supply alcohol to minors.

"That was a directive that came from (Chief Keith Ternes)," Vettel said. "Most of these incidents wouldn't have happened if alcohol wasn't present."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535