UPDATE: Life term possible for Pickstown crash suspect
PICKSTOWN — The man arrested in connection with the July 8 crash that killed two U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees could now be punished with life in prison.
Attorney General Marty Jackley and Charles Mix County States Attorney Thomas Deadrick announced Thursday that Ronald Ray Fischer, 29, of Lake Andes, was indicted Monday by a Charles Mix County grand jury.
Fischer was indicted on two counts of first-degree manslaughter, a felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $50,000 fine, and two counts of vehicular homicide, a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. He is also charged with one count of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and one count of ingesting a non-alcoholic substance to become intoxicated, both misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 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 state legal limit for driving 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. Spindler’s father, Gregg, sent a news release Thursday to the media after Fischer’s indictment was announced.
“We look forward to a vigorous criminal prosecution of this case and fully support the Attorney General’s Office and the state’s attorney in Charles Mix County,” the release said in part. “Ron Fischer’s criminal behavior killed our daughter; the act was of such violence there were no viewable remains.”