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Fatal crash suspect in court

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

LAKE ANDES -- A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a man accused of causing a July 8 crash that killed two U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees.

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Ronald Fischer Jr., 29, of Lake Andes, made his initial court appearance Tuesday at the Charles Mix County Courthouse in Lake Andes, during which a preliminary hearing was scheduled for next month.

Fischer is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide, a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

The charges stem from a crash that killed Dr. Robert Klumb, 46, of Pierre, and Maegen Spindler, 25, of Cazenovia, N.Y. Klumb was the lead research biologist in the Pierre office for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Cazenovia was working as a fisheries technician assistant for Klumb during the summer.

A blood sample taken after the crash indicated Fischer had a blood-alcohol content of 0.232, nearly three times the legal driving limit, when the vehicle he was driving struck and killed Klumb and Spindler, who were on foot in a hotel parking lot in Pickstown, according to court documents. The legal limit for driving in South Dakota is 0.08.

Fischer's vehicle allegedly failed to stop at the stop sign at a highway intersection and then traveled into the parking lot, where it struck Klumb and Spindler at highway speeds, court documents say.

Fischer is being held on $200,000 cash bond.

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