Cromwell man charged with DWI following semi/ATV crashA Cromwell man has been charged with fourth-degree DWI while operating a commercial vehicle after the semi-tractor/trailer he was driving collided with an ATV operated by three juveniles.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
A Cromwell man has been charged with fourth-degree DWI while operating a commercial vehicle after the semi-tractor/trailer he was driving collided with an ATV operated by three juveniles.
Donald McDougall Clark Jr., 69, was charged in Carlton County Court on Monday and was released after posting $200 bail.
The criminal complaint filed in the incident stated that on Friday, Oct. 19, at approximately 4:10 p.m., Carlton County Dispatch received a 911 call regarding an accident with injuries involving an ATV and a semi-tractor/trailer on County Road 6 near Automba Township.
Carlton County Sheriff’s deputies, Minnesota State Patrol, Mercy Ambulance and Kettle River First Responders responded to the scene of the accident and discovered a logging truck had collided with a side-by-side off-road vehicle.
When deputies spoke with Clark, the driver of the logging truck, they noted they could detect an odor of alcohol. From speaking with Clark and other witnesses, the deputies learned that Clark had been driving the truck down the highway when the ATV entered a trail crossing in the roadway in front of the commercial vehicle. Clark reportedly tried to avoid striking the ATV by veering to the left but was unable to avoid colliding with it. The ATV was thrown into the air and at least one of the occupants landed in the roadway.
The complaint noted the occupants of the ATV, ages 14, 10 and 9, were critically injured and taken by ambulance to Mercy Hospital for treatment. No further news is available on their current status.
Deputies administered several standardized field sobriety tests on Clark, revealing alcohol impairment. A preliminary breath test revealed the defendant’s alcohol concentration was .05. The threshold for commercial vehicle drivers such as Clark is .04.
Clark, who was not injured, was arrested for driving under the influence and transported to the Carlton County Jail.
The Carlton County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Minnesota State Patrol are continuing to investigate the matter at this time.
The State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Department is charged with conducting an inspection of Clark’s semi-tractor/trailer.
Trooper Aaron Churness of State Patrol District 2700 is in charge of conducting an accident reconstruction of the accident. He stated on Monday that he was there the night of the accident to take photos and mark the scene. The next day he returned to forensically map the scene of the accident and measure where each vehicle ended up when it came to final rest following the accident. He said the forensic map of the scene will help him determine such things as the speed of both vehicles prior to impact as well as at the time of impact.
Churness said the final accident reconstruction was not yet completed at the time this week’s issue of the Pine Journal went to press.
According to the criminal complaint, it is possible that Clark could be later charged with one or more counts of criminal vehicular operation if substantiated by the accident reconstruction. At this time, however, Assistant Carlton County Attorney Michael Boese indicated it is difficult to determine whether Clark’s actions actually caused the accident or constituted negligence.
Boese said the legal age to operate an ATV in the right-of-way on any public roadway is 16.