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Motorist who hit Ogema skater has history of violations

Ross Thomas Dodd

The driver of a car that struck and seriously injured an Ogema, Minn., teenager as he was rollerblading on a Becker County highway Monday has an extensive criminal record that includes four DWI-related convictions and nine charges of driving after his license was canceled, court records show.

White Earth police arrested 30-year-old Ross Thomas Dodd of Ogema for probation violation at the scene of the accident, Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon said Wednesday.

Dodd, who doesn't have a valid driver's license, was being held in the Becker County Jail. He may face criminal charges as a result of the investigation and review by the county attorney, Gordon said.

The accident victim, identified by the sheriff as Landon Hochstetler, 16, of rural Ogema, remained in a coma Wednesday afternoon in the intensive-care unit at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, according to his CaringBridge website.

The sheriff's office said Hochstetler and his friend Sherman Eberle, 16, of rural Ogema, were skating in the westbound lane on Becker County 34 in low light when Dodd's westbound car hit Hochstetler.

Hochstetler suffered a broken left leg, cuts and bruising to the face, arms and legs, a damaged lung, possible blood in the brain and a skull fracture, his CaringBridge site stated.

Gordon said alcohol and speed aren't believed to be factors in the accident, but he said Dodd shouldn't have been behind the wheel because he has no driver's license, having been deemed an imitable threat to public safety.

Online court records show Dodd was most recently convicted on Dec. 18, 2006, of driving impaired in Becker County. He was sentenced to 54 months in prison.