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Schoen gets four years in prison for Pope County crash that killed Bigler baby

GLENWOOD — Dana Allen Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, was sentenced this morning to 48 months in prison on a criminal vehicular homicide charge for causing the July 28 motor vehicle crash in Pope County that killed 5-month-old Drake Bigler,

As part of his sentencing by District Judge Charles Glasrud in Pope County District Court, Schoen was also sentenced to 13- and 15-month sentences, to be served concurrently, on criminal vehicular operations charges for causing injuries to the boy’s father and grandmother.

The courtroom was filled to standing room only as friends and relatives to the Brad and Heather Bigler family of Marshall attended the sentencing hearing.

Both Brad Bigler and the baby’s grandmother, Sharon Schuler of Granite Falls, were permanently injured in the crash and gave emotion-filled victim impact statements. Brad Bigler is the men’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

“In our eyes, no punishment is acceptable,” Bigler said in court. He also urged Schoen to find a way to do something positive with his life.

Schoen, who registered an 0.351 blood alcohol content after the crash and has two prior convictions for driving while impaired, told the judge he was ashamed of his actions and is in alcohol treatment.

Schoen had previously pleaded guilty to the three counts of criminal vehicular homicide or operation as part of a plea agreement. He was given credit for 57 days already served and was ordered to pay a $50 fine, so that his payments may go to restitution. The total restitution amount has not yet been determined.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol and the criminal complaint against Schoen, the baby 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. Brad Bigler and Schuler were transported to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., for treatment of their injuries. Heather Bigler suffered minor injuries.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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