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Rural Clara City, Minn., man found guilty on charges from fatal crash

MONTEVIDEO - A Chippewa County jury has found Arnold Ronald Jaenisch, 71, of rural Clara City, guilty of two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide for a fatal motor vehicle crash in December 2011 that killed a 39-year-old Montevideo woman.

According to Chippewa County Attorney David Gilbertson, Jaenisch was also found guilty of misdemeanor charges of open bottle and stop sign violation in a two-day trial last week. District Judge Thomas Van Hon in Chippewa County District Court presided. Another felony for criminal vehicular homicide was dismissed before the trial began.

Jaenisch was ordered held in jail pending the pre-sentence investigation and the sentencing, which has not been scheduled, Gilbertson said.

Jaenisch was charged for driving through a double-posted stop sign at the intersection of Chippewa County Road 13 and Minnesota Highway 29 on Dec. 16, 2011, and striking the vehicle of Kelly Marie Berghorst, 39, of Montevideo, and originally of New London, injuring her fatally. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jaenisch was seriously injured in the accident, and later transported by air ambulance to St. Cloud from the Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital.

The criminal complaint includes that Jaenisch had a blood alcohol level of 0.11 percent within two hours of the accident, over the legal limit of 0.08. Law officers responding to the accident reported finding an open bottle of wine in his vehicle.

Court records show Jaenisch has driving while impaired convictions on March 15, 2008, and July 19, 2007.

Tribune reporter Tom Cherveny contributed to this report.

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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