Starbuck, Minn., man faces charges in crash that killed boy, 5 monthsThe Starbuck man alleged to have caused the crash that killed an infant and injured three others has been charged with criminal vehicular operation.
By: By Gretchen Schlosser, West Central Tribune, Forum Communications,
The Starbuck man alleged to have caused the crash that killed an infant and injured three others has been charged with criminal vehicular operation.
Dana Allen Schoen, 38, pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of criminal vehicular operation for allegedly driving while impaired and causing the motor vehicle crash Saturday evening in Pope County that killed 5-month-old Drake Bigler and injured the boy’s parents and great-grandmother.
Unconditional bail was set at $40,000 by District Judge Jon Stafsholt in Pope County District Court. Schoen also pleaded not guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. His next court date was not available via the court system’s online records.
According to the criminal complaint against Schoen, a preliminary breath test at the scene of the crash, near the intersection of State Highway 29 and County Road 41, showed his blood-alcohol content at 0.351, more than four times the legal limit of 0.08. A sample of his blood was also sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.
Drake Bigler, the son of Brad and Heather Bigler of Marshall, is identified by his initials in the complaint. The child was pronounced dead at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood. Heather Bigler was driving a GMC Acadia in the head-on collision with a Dodge pickup driven by Schoen.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol and the complaint, Brad Bigler, and another passenger, Heather’s grandmother, Sharon Schuler, 74, of Granite Falls, were transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., for treatment of their injuries. Heather Bigler suffered minor injuries.
Brad Bigler is the men’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
According to the complaint, a responding Minnesota State Patrol trooper noted that the entire passenger side of the sport utility vehicle carrying the Bigler family was sheared off and lying in the ditch several feet away. A man who came upon the crash found the infant still buckled into his car seat, which was dangling from the side of the SUV. The man unbuckled the car seat and stabilized the child’s head.
The trooper noticed that Schoen exhibited signs of alcohol consumption, including that his speech was slurred and he was swaying. He allegedly told the trooper he was going to “flunk” the preliminary breath test, which showed a blood alcohol content of 0.351. He was arrested and was later taken to the hospital for a blood draw for analysis by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
There were two empty and four unopened beer cans lying on the ground next to the crashed pickup, plus several more open and unopened, but still cold, beer cans in the pickup, along with an empty cooler.
According to state records, Schoen was convicted of gross misdemeanor drunken driving in 2005 and in 2000. In both of those cases, his blood alcohol content was greater than 0.20. He also has convictions for reckless driving and speeding.