A North Dakota man who was high on marijuana when he was involved in a traffic accident that injured another person pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular battery and impaired driving.
Christopher S. Orwig, 25, of Ellendale, N.D., was sentenced to 60 days in jail and given credit for 30 days in spent in treatment on the vehicular battery charge. He must also spend three years on probation, pay $1,104 in fines and fees, continue aftercare and make restitution. He was granted a suspended imposition of sentence. That means the incident won't go on his record if he follows probation rules. He must continue aftercare.
The charges stem from May 21, when Orwig was driving north on U.S. Highway 281 north of Aberdeen and his vehicle struck another. The second vehicle then struck a third vehicle and the third vehicle a fourth, according to American News accounts. Orwig and the driver of the second vehicle were taken to Avera St. Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen.
At the time of the accident, one lane of the highway was closed for construction, so northbound vehicles were stopped while southbound traffic passed through a construction zone.
A person is charged with vehicular battery when suspected of being impaired and negligently operating a vehicle involved in a crash that results in injuries. The crime is a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
On the impaired driving charge, a misdemeanor, Orwig was fined $484 and ordered to pay $90 in testing costs. His driver's license was revoked for three years. In exchange for his guilty pleas, related charges were dismissed.
In other court news:
- Nicholas J. Gudmundson, 26, of Winsted, Minn., admitted he violated the terms of his probation. He was on probation because of a previous possession of methamphetamine conviction and, according to court paperwork, broke probation rules by using marijuana and methamphetamine. Gudmundson was sentenced to five years in prison with two years suspended and given credit for time served. He must pay outstanding fines and fees. The underlying meth charge is a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
- Keisha D. McNeese, 31, of Aurora, Colo., pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine. She was sentenced to five years in prison with a year suspended. She was given credit for 43 days served. She must also pay $104 in court costs and $153 in testing costs. The crime is a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
- Galen L. Thompson, 39, of Aberdeen pleaded guilty to failing to properly register as is required of a sex offender. He was given a two-year suspended prison term and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He must spend two years on probation and pay $604 in fines and fees. The crime is a felony punishable by as much as two years in prison and a $4,000 fine. He was previously convicted of sexual contact with a minor.
- Kevin J. Kiefer, 46, of Lead pleaded no contest in Spink County to a count of theft by insufficient funds check. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and two years probation. He must also pay $804 in fines and fees and $1,168 in restitution. He was granted a suspended imposition of sentence. That means the incident won't go on his record if he follows probation rules. The crime is a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. With a no contest plea, a person charged with a crime neither admits nor denies a crime, but is sentenced as if he or she is guilty. In exchange for his no-contest plea, other charges were dismissed.
- James H. Minnick, 24, of Ashton pleaded guilty in Spink County to failing to properly register as is required of a sex offender. He was sentenced to two years in prison with one year suspended. He must pay $104 in court costs. The crime is a felony punishable by as much as two years in prison and a $4,000 fine. He was previously convicted of disseminating or exhibiting obscene material to a minor. Minnick also pleaded guilty to ingesting an intoxicant other than an alcoholic beverage, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 12 days in jail, fined $84 and ordered to pay $45 in testing costs. Related charges were dismissed.