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Motions filed in vehicular homicide case

The attorney for an 18-year-old Alexandria man charged with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide has filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case.

The attorney, John Leunig, told the court that Jacob John Dale was not advised of his Miranda rights when he was questioned by a state trooper at the St. Cloud Hospital on the night of the May 25 crash that killed 19-year-old Landon Lien of Carlos.

Dale was “despondent and crying” when he was questioned, Leunig said in his motion.

He is asking the judge to suppress Dale’s statements, as well as a blood-alcohol test that the trooper administered at the hospital. Leunig said that because of Dale’s young age and emotional condition, he could not validly give consent to the test. He said the trooper should have obtained a warrant.

Leunig also requested to suppress the results of a breathalyzer test and all of Dale’s medical records obtained by the State Patrol.

A contested omnibus hearing to consider the motions is scheduled for December 13 at 9:45 a.m. in Douglas County District Court.

Meanwhile, Dale, who posted bail of $4,500 in June shortly after charges were filed, was arrested last Thursday for violating the conditions of his release. An electronic monitoring device detected alcohol in his system and a breathalyzer test later confirmed those results, according to Assistant Douglas County Attorney Megan Burkhammer. In another test taken after his arrest, Dale tested positive for marijuana, she said.

After a bail hearing last Friday, Dale posted an additional $1,000 and was again released.

The felony counts against Dale all involve alcohol — operating a vehicle with negligence while under the influence of alcohol, with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, and having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more within two hours of driving.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The crash happened at around 2 a.m. on Interstate 94, about six miles east of Alexandria.

At the time, it wasn’t clear who was driving but authorities have since determined that Dale was behind the wheel.

The vehicle sideswiped a semi-truck while trying to pass and rolled into the median near milepost 109, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Lien was found lying on the ground near the vehicle, unresponsive.

Dale, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to St. Cloud Hospital where he was hospitalized and later released.

According to the criminal complaint, Dale and Lien had gone to Sauk Centre for a graduation party and were headed back to Alexandria.

Five witnesses who were at the party told investigators that Dale was in the driver’s seat when they left the party, according to the complaint.

Dale initially told investigators that Lien was the driver.

When a state trooper questioned him in the hospital, he noticed a long abrasion down the left side of Dale’s neck, which is consistent with the mark that would have been left from a shoulder strap or seat belt if Dale had been in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash, according to the criminal complaint.

A blood alcohol test taken more than three and a half hours after the crash showed an alcohol concentration of 0.14, well over the legal limit of 0.08, according to the complaint.

According to computerized information taken from the vehicle’s airbag equipment, the vehicle was traveling 81 miles per hour at the time of the crash, well over the speed limit of 70 miles per hour, according to the complaint.

Lien, the son of Gary and Sonja Lien, had a keen interest in history and enjoyed being a World War II re-enactor. He and two of his friends were featured in an Echo Press story in April 2011 for serving as extras in World War II battle scenes in the movie, Memorial Day.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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