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Fatal crash suspect in court

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.

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.