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Minnesota woman facing two vehicular homicide charges

A Minnesota woman was charged Monday in Pierce County Circuit Court with two vehicular homicide counts.

Janice M. Pedersen, 63, Apple Valley, is alleged to have cause the death of Donald R. Opdahl, 65, last October and have a prohibited alcohol concentration of .13. She is scheduled to make her initial court appearance 10 a.m. March 28.

According to the criminal complaint, Pierce County Sheriff's deputies were called out to an accident on State Highway 35 near County Highway VV Oct. 9. Upon arrival, two witnesses said a Chevrolet Corvette, driven by Pedersen, was being driven negligently, and that she was speeding and passing dangerously.

The accident occurred when the Corvette, the witnesses stated, passed them around a curve, got into the gravel and flipped.

Both Pederson and Opdahl were taken by helicopter to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester. Based on evidence at the scene, deputies performed a blood draw on Pedersen, which was mailed to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Their findings showed Pedersen had a blood sample of .130. Reports also said Opdahl died due to a fracture in the spine.

Each charge is a Class D felony that carries a maximum penalty of $100,000 and/or 25 years prison if Pedersen is found guilty.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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