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Willmar, Minn., woman pleads to criminal vehicular charge

WILLMAR — Francis Lizzeth Garcia-Dormes, 31, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of criminal vehicular homicide or operation for causing a drunken driving crash on Nov. 29 in Willmar.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, three additional felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide or operation and driving while impaired will be dismissed. She will be sentenced April 26.

The charges were filed after Willmar police officers were called to Lakeland Drive Southeast near the Pizza Ranch restaurant regarding a traffic crash involving injuries.

Garcia-Dormes was identified as the driver of a sedan that had collided with a van. Officers noticed that her speech was very slurred, and she smelled of alcoholic beverage and had a hard time answering questions about what happened.

Both Garcia-Dormes and the driver of the other vehicle were taken by ambulance to Rice Memorial Hospital. The other driver said she had exited off the bypass, turned south onto Lakeland Drive and noticed a vehicle coming around the corner at a high rate of speed. She said the vehicle went through the parking area of the mechanic shop on the corner, back onto Lakeland Drive and the crossed the centerline and struck her vehicle in her lane.

Evidence at the scene, including tire tracks and clumps of grass in the roadway, were consistent with the other driver’s report.

Blood was drawn from Garcia-Dormes at the hospital and sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing, which showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.29 percent.

The other driver later released her medical information to police, including that she had suffered broken ribs in the crash and received chiropractic and other care for the injury.

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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