ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Spicer driver in crash that killed New London cyclist pleads guilty

WILLMAR--Just one day before his case was set for jury trial in Kandiyohi County District Court, a Spicer driver pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge related to a fatal crash last July that killed an New London cyclist. Michael James Schammel...

2641179+Police tape.jpg

WILLMAR-Just one day before his case was set for jury trial in Kandiyohi County District Court, a Spicer driver pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge related to a fatal crash last July that killed an New London cyclist.

Michael James Schammel, 36, pleaded guilty Monday to failure to allow a safe distance when passing a bicycle.

He will be sentenced on the charge Oct. 27. The maximum sentence for the offense is 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

A second misdemeanor charge, for careless driving, is expected to be dismissed at sentencing.

Bruce "Leo" Kehrer-Schneider, 62, was killed July 21 while biking westbound on Kandiyohi County Road 29 in rural New London north of Lake Florida.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was hit on the fog line by a vehicle driven by Schammel.

The case was originally set for an unusually long three-day jury trial beginning Tuesday, during which the prosecution planned to call nine witnesses.

The criminal complaint says officers at the July 21 crash scene detected no signs of impairment from Schammel, and that he was extremely distraught.

They did not perform a blood alcohol test to determine if he had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to the complaint, officers did obtain an administrative subpoena for Schammel's phone records, which indicated no phone activity had taken place at the time of the crash.

Court documents for a separate civil wrongful death lawsuit against Schammel brought the finality of those results into question last week, suggesting Schammel had deleted numerous google searches, text messages and call logs before a forensic examination of the phone months after the crash.

That lawsuit, filed by Kehrer-Schneider's widow, Mary, is still in progress. Mary Kehrer-Schneider has filed a motion asking for additional punitive damages in the civil case.

The next hearing in the civil case is scheduled for Thursday.

Related Topics: SPICER
What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.
Volunteers lead lessons on infusing fibers with plant dyes and journaling scientific observations for youth in Crow Wing and Olmsted counties.