Clara City man gets probation in July 2021 accident that injured two others

A Clara City man pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation for driving drunk and causing an accident that injured two others in July 2021. He was ordered to serve supervised probation for three years.


MONTEVIDEO β€” A 38-year-old Clara City man was sentenced to serve three years of supervised probation for a felony conviction of criminal vehicular operation.

Benjamin Ross Peterson
Booking photo

Benjamin Ross Peterson was charged with causing substantial bodily harm while under the influence of alcohol in a July 30, 2021, crash west of Clara City.

He collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 7 and 100th Avenue. Two adults in the other vehicle were injured. An infant did not appear to be injured, according to the narrative in the criminal complaint.

They were held overnight in the CCM Health Hospital in Montevideo. One of them had several broken ribs and a lung contusion.

Peterson also was treated for injuries at the CCM Health emergency department in Montevideo, where blood was also drawn for a blood alcohol test.


Peterson told officers at the scene that he did not see the other vehicle when he started to cross Highway 7. Witnesses said it appeared that Peterson's vehicle did not stop at the stop sign, according to the complaint.

Officers conducted several field sobriety tests of Peterson, who showed signs of impairment, and an open whiskey bottle was found in his vehicle.

A preliminary breath test sample showed a blood alcohol content of 0.255, three times the legal limit for drunken driving.

According to Chippewa County District Court documents, Peterson pleaded guilty to the criminal vehicular operation charge on March 28. Two misdemeanor charges of driving while impaired were dismissed at sentencing on May 17.

Peterson was granted a stay of imposition, which means successful completion of probation will result in the conviction being reduced to a misdemeanor on his record.

He was also sentenced to serve 90 days in jail, with credit for three days served, and ordered to pay $1,075 in fines and fees.

Additional stints of 30 days in jail, staggered over the next three years, may be deferred if he is in compliance with his probation. A long list of conditions apply, including not using or possessing alcohol, not entering bars or liquor stores, completion of a chemical assessment and mental health evaluation and writing a letter of apology.

Susan Lunneborg is the news editor of the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota. A journalist for more than 25 years, she has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Lunneborg can be reached at: or 320-214-4343.
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