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Starbuck, Minn., man pleads to charges in drunken driving crash that left 5-month-old baby dead

GLENWOOD — Dana Allen Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide or operation for causing the July 28 motor vehicle crash in Pope County that killed 5-month-old Drake Bigler and injured the boy’s parents and great-grandmother.

The pleas were entered in Pope County District Court. Schoen will be sentenced Jan. 25 by District Judge Charles Glasrud.

Drake Bigler, the son of Brad and Heather Bigler of Marshall, is identified by his initials in the complaint against Schoen. The child was pronounced dead at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood.

Heather Bigler was driving a GMC Acadia in the head-on collision with a Dodge pickup driven by Schoen near the intersection of State Highway 29 and County Road 41.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol and the complaint, Brad Bigler, and another passenger, Heather’s grandmother, Sharon Schuler, 74, of Granite Falls, were transported to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., for treatment of their injuries. Heather Bigler suffered minor injuries.

Brad Bigler is the men’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

According to the complaint, a responding Minnesota State Patrol trooper noted that the entire passenger side of the sport utility vehicle carrying the Bigler family was sheared off and lying in the ditch several feet away. A man who came upon the crash found the infant still buckled into his car seat, which was dangling from the side of the SUV. The man unbuckled the car seat and stabilized the child’s head.

The trooper noticed that Schoen exhibited signs of alcohol consumption, including that his speech was slurred and he was swaying. He told the trooper he was going to “flunk” the preliminary breath test, which showed a blood alcohol content of 0.351 percent. He was arrested and was later taken to the hospital for a blood draw for analysis by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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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