WILLMAR, Minn. - A 21-year-old man has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with a head-on crash that claimed three lives near Willmar Friday.
Prosecutors charged Paul Anthony Wickenhauser of Cokato with four felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide or operation and one of open bottle Monday.
Investigators say Wickenhauser crossed the center line of State Highway 12 near Willmar shortly after 9 p.m. August 17, and struck a minivan carrying a Twin Cities woman, two of her children, and her mother-in-law.
The minivan careened into a ditch and started on fire. Eden Prairie resident Michelle Hoffman, age 40, and Marta Greer Stoffers, age 68, of Atwater, were dead on the scene. Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter Julia was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center but later died of her injuries.
Detectives say Wickenhauser admitted to drinking five beers earlier in the day. They also found an unsealed bottle of liquor and a cooler containing a case of beer in the cab of his pickup, and a shattered bottle of Captain Morgan rum in the roadway.
A preliminary breath test put Wickenhauser's blood alcohol level at .07.
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