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Itasca County man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

 

One of two men charged with criminal vehicular homicide in an alcohol-fueled fatal Itasca County crash has pleaded guilty.

Tomas Charles Cuellar, 41, of La Prairie, entered the plea Monday in State District Court in Grand Rapids.

Cuellar and 50-year-old Bradley Gene Doree, of Hill City, were charged in connection with the March 11, 2017, crash along U.S. Highway 169 that killed Michael Joseph Washburn, 48, of Hill City.

The Minnesota State Patrol was notified of the crash about 6 miles north of Hill City at about 5:20 a.m, and found a Volkswagen Passat, which had drifted off the right shoulder of the northbound lanes, struck a driveway approach and rolled, coming to rest on its wheels.

Washburn, whose body was discovered about 40 feet in front of the vehicle, was quickly pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators said alcohol containers, clothing, shoes and blood were found throughout the vehicle and nearby area.

Authorities said the men spent the night partying, with Doree admitting to drinking more than a dozen beers and several shots. Cuellar allegedly told them that all three of them had been driving at some point during the night.

Doree was reported to have a .237 blood-alcohol concentration, while Cuellar was at .204 — both well above the .08 limit for driving.

Cuellar’s sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 3. Doree, who has not entered a plea, is due back in court on Jan. 28.

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