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Agreement reached in Wussow case

The case against Roger Edwin Wussow, who was arrested last August in connection with a pedestrian hit and run that resulted in the death of 72-year-old Burdette "Bud" Olson of Alexandria, will not be going to trial.

On March 31, Wussow, 65, of Garfield, pleaded guilty to illegally leaving the scene of a fatal accident, according to Douglas County Attorney Chris Karpan.

The most serious charge, criminal vehicular homicide, will be dismissed at sentencing, which will likely take place in early May, said Karpan in an e-mailed statement Monday afternoon.

He explained that the criminal vehicular homicide charge requires that the state prove that Wussow "caused" the accident.

"With the investigation now complete, it appears that this was simply not the case," said Karpan.

Judge Lisa Borgen has not yet approved Wussow's plea agreement, according to the county attorney, but said she will do so at the sentencing hearing.

"Any further factual details about the case from my office, as to exactly what the completed investigation showed, will not be discussed until after the sentencing," Karpan concluded.

Background information

The accident took place on August 29, 2007 near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Broadway in Alexandria at 5:44 p.m.

When officers arrived, they found Olson roughly 100 feet west of the intersection on the south side of the road. The complaint stated that he had suffered massive injuries and was in critical condition.

According to witnesses, a black, full-size pickup had hit the man and then turned south on Broadway without stopping.

Shortly after the accident happened, a vehicle matching the description was located in the parking lot of Alex Carpet One on the south side of Alexandria. The vehicle belonged to Roger Wussow.

When officers questioned him at his residence that evening, Wussow explained that he had left the vehicle at Alex Carpet One, which he owned and operated, and received a ride home from his wife.

When Wussow was told the vehicle had been involved in an accident with a pedestrian, he told the authorities, "I didn't know about that," according to the complaint.

Wussow added that he "felt a bump," but he didn't know that he had hit anybody.

Officers detected a strong odor of alcohol on Wussow's breath, according to the complaint, which also stated that Wussow's eyes appeared to be glossy and his pupils were dilated.

When asked if he had been drinking, Wussow first told the officers, "I had a beer," and when asked when that was, Wussow stated that it was after he arrived at home.

A number of field sobriety tests were performed by Peterson, including the horizontal gaze nystagmus, nine step walk and turn, and the one-legged stand. The complaint stated that Wussow's performance on the tests indicated that he was under the influence of alcohol.

A preliminary breath test was also performed, which indicated that Wussow's blood alcohol concentration was .188 - more than double the legal limit.

Wussow was then placed under arrest for criminal vehicular operation and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

On September 2, three days after the accident, Olson died as a result of his injuries.

The criminal complaint stated, "Given the damage to the defendant's truck, the reported loud sound of the pedestrian being struck by the defendant's truck, and the time of day and driving conditions, it is impossible to believe that any reasonable person could have struck the victim without knowledge of that fact. It appears that the defendant left the scene intentionally, in all likelihood because he was drinking."

After his first hearing, Wussow was released from jail after posting $5,000 in cash bail.