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Man, 29, pleads to two charges in drunken crash

WILLMAR -- Raymond Lee Lindgren, 29, of Rice and formerly of Kerkhoven, pleaded guilty Monday to a gross misdemeanor charge of criminal vehicular operation for driving a vehicle into a tree and injuring two child passengers on Oct. 17.

As part of a plea agreement in Kandiyohi County District Court, Lindgren also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge for punching two people with whom he had been drinking before the crash along 19th Street Southeast.

Also as part of the plea agreement, five additional gross misdemeanor charges, for driving while impaired, child endangerment and obstructing the legal process, plus a another misdemeanor for assault, will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Feb. 21.

Lindgren was released on his personal recognizance and transported to a treatment facility in the St. Cloud area.

The charges were filed after Willmar police officers were called around 11 p.m. Oct. 17 to a residence along Seventh Street Southeast on an assault. The complainants reported the man who assaulted them had left in a white Mustang. While en route, the officer was flagged down by a woman who pointed out the car, which was backing away from a tree, smoking and with extensive front-end damage.

The car proceeded west on Becker Avenue for about 225 feet before stopping in response to the squad car emergency lights.

The officer found Lindgren, smelling of alcohol and bleeding pr-ofusely from his head, and two small children in the car. One of the children was bleeding from a cut and the other indicated he had flown over the front seat in the crash. There were no child safety restraints in the backseat of the car.

Police struggled with Lindgren, who would not let the children out of his grasp. He was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital, where a blood sample was taken. Analysis by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showed a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

There was a case of beer in the heavily damaged car. Officers found tracks across a parking lot at Valley Golf Course and into a tree. The tree apparently stopped the vehicle from crashing into two gasoline storage tanks at the course.

The man and woman who originally called police to report the assault, and another woman, reported that Lindgren had been drinking beer and Jägermeister liquor since 3 p.m. that day and had consumed about half of the case of beer and at least three shots of the liquor.

They reported that Lindgren had punched them while they were determining who was going to drive Lindgren home and that he had left, with the children, when they called for law enforcement.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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