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Tests come back negative for Waverly driver in fatal crash

Dec. 29, 2008

By Lynda Jensen
Editor

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – Half of the charges will be dropped in a triple fatal accident in which the driver crashed his Corvette in a wooded area north of Howard Lake October.

Stephen Mark Dooher, 22, of Waverly still faces three counts of vehicular homicide in relation to an accident that took the life of three of his friends.

However, three counts against Dooher that pertained to alcohol use will be dropped, since the tests came back negative for alcohol and illicit drug use, said Assistant County Attorney Brian Lutes.

Lutes is convinced that Dooher had been drinking that night. However, since Dooher was pinned behind the vehicle for 12 hours before being rescued, this allowed his body to burn off the alcohol that previously might have been absorbed in his system.

When the crash was discovered the morning of Oct. 28, deputies discovered the victims, the badly damaged car, and a debris field along a sharp ditch, about a quarter-mile south of the intersection of Wright Co. Rd. 35 and County Road 7.

A deputy who responded to the scene detected alcohol on the defendant’s breath and found one beer can of “Ice House” beer.

At the scene of the crash, Dooher admitted to being the driver, but said he could not remember the events that precipitated the crash.

Later, at the hospital, Dooher admitted to a deputy that he “might have used alcohol the night of the crash,” according to the complaint.

The defendant admitted his consumption of alcohol on the evening of the crash could be the reason he didn’t recall what happened relating to it.

The defendant admitted to being disoriented on the night of the crash, and said alcohol could have, in part, caused this disorientation.

A detective reported that he learned from two witnesses that the defendant had been partying and drinking with the three victims on the night of the crash.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that Dooher allowed three of his friends to climb into his 1984 Corvette that did not have a back seat, Lutes said. The friends were ejected from the vehicle and killed in the crash.

Law enforcement officials believe that Dooher was driving at a high rate of speed, according to witness accounts and evidence at the crash scene, and probably didn’t stop at a stop sign.

Killed in the crash were Andrea Northern, 23, of South Haven; Michael Demars, 22, of Maple Lake; and Derek Kammerer, 22, of Maple Lake – all of whom appeared to have been ejected from the vehicle, according to the accident report.

Dooher has been charged with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide/operation of a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner. Three counts of criminal vehicular homicide/under influence alcohol were dropped.


 

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