Man facing charges in fatal crash has previous drunken driving convictions
UPDATED 2:46 p.m.
UPDATED 2:46 p.m.
PARK RAPIDS, Minn. - A man suspected in causing a fatal crash outside Park Rapids last week now faces multiple felonies resulting from that accident, which killed a Hitterdal man.
This week, Hubbard County Attorney Donovan Dearstyne charged Robert Louis McGrath, 49, Minneapolis, with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
The charges accuse McGrath of negligent operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, resulting in the death of 53-year-old Dale McDougall of Hitterdal.
The Jan. 21 accident occurred between Park Rapids and Nevis on Highway 34.
According to court documents:
McGrath's vehicle crossed the highway centerline and struck McDougall's pickup head-on in the wrong lane of traffic.
McGrath was legally impaired at the time, driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of greater than .08 percent, the state's legal threshold for drunken driving.
He also faces a charge of driving while intoxicated.
McGrath has a history of drunken driving arrests, which elevated the third count to Second Degree DWI.
A search of court records for him shows previous DWI convictions in Minnesota in 1992 and 2001.
McGrath was airlifted to Fargo's Innovis Health Center following the accident. He has since been released and appeared in Hubbard County District Court on Tuesday.
In 1992, McGrath was sentenced by a Hennepin County judge to two years probation, fined and ordered to make restitution.
In 2001, a Benton County judge sentenced him to a year in jail, with all but 30 days suspended. McGrath was ordered to undergo alcohol counseling, attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving course, undergo an alcohol assessment and pay a fine and court costs.
In 2003 he was again ordered to complete the alcohol assessment.
Eyewitnesses and emergency personnel reported McGrath smelled of alcohol at the scene.
If convicted, the two criminal vehicular homicide charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
The DWI charge is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Inforum searchword: courts and crime
The Enterprise and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.