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Man faces felony criminal vehicular charge for New London, Minn., motorcycle crash

WILLMAR - Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 41, of New London, made his first court appearance Monday on a felony charge of criminal vehicular homicide or operation for allegedly causing a man to be seriously injured in a crash Saturday in New London.

Unconditional bail was set at $25,000.

Schaeffer's next appearance is Aug. 12 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the complaint, Schaeffer failed field sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.092 in a preliminary breath test at the scene of the crash at the intersection of Main Street, which is also Highway 9, and Second Avenue.

A State Trooper and Kandiyohi County deputies arrived to find Schaeffer's pickup partially over a black Yamaha motorcycle. The man driving the motorcycle, Michael James Knutson, 32, of New London, was flown to St. Cloud Hospital for treatment of serious injuries to his left leg.

Witnesses told investigators that Schaeffer's pickup was eastbound on Second Street, failed to stop at the stop sign at Main Street and struck the motorcycle. Schaeffer claimed he stopped and then continued east. He also told officers he had one "big beer" at noon that day.

The trooper talked with Knutson on Sunday. Knutson said he left from the south entrance of Skindeliens Amoco and went northbound at about 15 to 20 mph.

He said he first saw the pickup when it came in contact with his left leg, which was crushed below the knee. He recalled being thrown from the bike and asking another person there to help him straighten out his leg.

Knutson was scheduled to have a second surgery on Monday, but doctors were not sure if they could save his leg from amputation.

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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