WILLMAR -- Blood tests by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension show that Paul Anthony Wickenhauser was over the legal alcohol limit for driving when he allegedly caused the triple fatal motor vehicle crash Aug. 17 east of Willmar.
According to County Attorney Jenna Fischer, the BCA tests showed a 0.09 blood-alcohol content in the blood drawn from Wickenhauser after the crash. The results have prompted the county attorney's office to file four additional felony criminal vehicular operation charges against the 21-year-old Cokato man.
Fischer said she personally called the lab supervisor at the BCA this week, asking that the sample be tested quickly.
"We know now, he was under the influence and over the limit," she said Friday morning.
The additional charges were added late Thursday to the original four criminal vehicular homicide and injury charges, plus a misdemeanor for open bottle, filed against Wickenhauser in Kandiyohi County District Court.
Wickenhauser is charged for causing the crash, along Highway 12 near the intersection with County Road 127, that killed Marta Stoffers, 68, of Atwater, her daughter-in-law, Michelle Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter Julia and injured Hoffman's 5-year-old son, Jason Hoffman.
The young man posted bail earlier this week and is required to submit to electronic alcohol monitoring and not allowed to enter bars or liquor stores on conditional release. His next court date is scheduled for Nov. 19.
The test results change the evidence for the prosecution, as the county attorney's office will not have to prove negligence, based on the test over the 0.08 legal limit, Fischer said. They now simply have to prove that Wickenhauser caused the crash. They have a witness and Wickenhauser's admission to law enforcement that he crossed the center line of the highway and caused the Stoffer vehicle to attempt evasive action to avoid his vehicle.