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Dean James Roehler

PR man convicted of all 11 counts in head-on crash that killed Backus woman

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It took a Hubbard County jury 2½ hours to find a Park Rapids man guilty of all 11 charges in connection with a head-on collision a year ago that took the life of a Backus woman.


Families of both drivers wept at the verdict. Trial began Tuesday morning and the case went to the jury Wednesday afternoon.

Dean James Roehler, 23, was found guilty of nine counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide & Injury in the July 14, 2011, death of Patricia Borman and injuries to her passengers on Highway 34 east of Park Rapids. He was also convicted of two counts of Fourth Degree DWI. He was immediately taken into custody until sentencing Sept. 4.

Borman, 52, died at the scene of the crash near Evening Drive when Roehler's westbound car veered across the centerline and struck her mini-van head-on.

Roehler, who was critically injured, testified that he was returning from Moondance Jam, but that he had only consumed three beers that day and was sleep deprived from being up all night on the 13th. The prosecution alleged he was legally drunk at the time of the collision.

Borman's daughter-in-law, Alicia, sobbed throughout her testimony as she recalled seeing a vehicle coming right at the van she was riding in. She and her infant son received minor injuries.

Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne, who prosecuted the case with assistant Jonathan Frieden, said he was so exhausted he couldn't really comment except to thank the jury for its serv-ice. He said his office would issue a press release Thursday.

Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
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