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Defense seeks to suppress statements of driver in Iszabella Morgan crash

Michael Sedlmeier

Michael Sedlmeier's attorney claims statements he made to investigators shortly after a fatal crash March 24 in Mitchell were not made freely and cannot be used in an upcoming trial.

Michael Ray Sedlmeier, 46, was allegedly driving drunk and fleeing police before he was involved in the two-vehicle crash that caused the death of 9-year-old Iszabella "Bella" Morgan. Sedlmeier's court-appointed attorney, Donna Bucher, of the Mitchell-based law firm Tinan, Smith and Bucher, has filed a motion to suppress all of his statements made about the crash to law enforcement officers.

In court documents, Bucher argues Sedlmeier's statements "were not made freely, voluntarily and with knowledge of his right to remain silent or his right to counsel."

Sedlmeier pleaded not guilty April 17 to first-degree manslaughter, third-offense drunken driving, aggravated eluding, vehicular homicide, hit-andrun causing injury or death, and reckless driving. A trial has been scheduled for August.

For first-degree manslaughter, Sedlmeier could be punished with life in prison.

According to a police affidavit filed two days after the crash, Sedlmeier -- after being arrested at the scene of the crash -- told Highway Patrol Trooper Grant Lubbers he had been drinking on a golf course prior to the incident and had "drank quite a bit of alcohol the night before." Sedlmeier is alleged to have had a blood alcohol content of 0.206 shortly after his arrest. The legal limit for driving in South Dakota is 0.08.

Bucher has also filed a motion for discovery, requesting information regarding all potential witnesses and any evidence to be presented at trial.