Wickenhauser to appear Tuesday on charges in triple fatal near Willmar, Minn.
WILLMAR -- Paul A. Wickenhauser, 21, of Cokato, will make his first court appearance Tuesday on charges of criminal vehicular homicide for the triple fatal crash Friday east of Willmar.
According to a news release from County Attorney Jenna Fischer, Wickenhauser will appear at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court on three counts of criminal vehicular homicide for the deaths of Marta Stoffers, 68, of Atwater, her daughter-in-law, Michelle L. Hoffman, 40, of Eden Prairie, and Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter.
Wickenhauser will also face a criminal vehicular injury for the injuries sustained by a second child involved in the crash.
According to the State Patrol, the child killed was Julia G. Hoffman. Hoffman's 5-year-old son Jason W. Hoffman was injured and is hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition in a report from the Minnesota State Patrol on Saturday. A spokesman at the Minneapolis hospital said Sunday that the family wanted no more information released about the boy.
The head-on crash happened around 9 p.m. Friday along U.S. Highway 12 near Kandiyohi. According to the State Patrol, Stoffers was driving east in a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country van. A 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup driven by Wickenhauser was traveling west and hit the van head-on. The force of the impact pushed the van into the north ditch of the highway, where it caught fire, according to the State Patrol.
According to Fischer's news release, law enforcement officers noted Wickenhauser had the odor of alcohol on his breath and his eyes were bloodshot. There was a broken alcohol container on the roadway, a bottle of rum in the cab of the pickup and a cooler of alcoholic beverages in the cargo area of the pickup. Wickenhauser admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages prior to driving that evening.
Wickenhauser was treated and released from Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar after the crash. He is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail.