Bemidji Man Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Homicide

The accident happened March 17 on Highway 65

Itasca County Attorney, John J. Muhar, reports on August 18 that Christopher Smith, 30, of Bemidji, Minnesota, pled guilty to one count of felony Criminal Vehicular Homicide.

The charge stems from a one vehicle crash on Highway 65 near Goodland in Itasca County on March 17, 2016. The vehicle driven by Smith drifted off the highway and into the ditch where it rolled multiple times.

Mark Wirtjes was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

Smith was given a breathalyzer test and blew at .108 at the scene. A search warrant was later signed authorizing the collection of a blood sample from Smith. Around four hours after the crash, Smith’s blood alcohol concentration was a .08.

The sentencing agreement placed during the hearing, calls for Smith to be sentenced under a stay of execution and receive a 57 month prison sentence, which would be stayed for 10 years.

In addition, the agreement calls fro Smith to be placed on 10 years supervised probation, under the following conditions: serve 12 months jail, $1,085 fine, DNA sample, chemical dependency evaluation, and follow recommendations, no use of alcohol or non-prescribed controlled substances and be subject to random drug testing.

Smith’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 26 at 9:30 a.m.

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