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Sunday crash causes injuries, charges

Two men were seriously injured and another man was arrested and charged with a felony as a result of a crash early Sunday morning on a gravel road northwest of Mitchell.

According to Highway Patrol Trooper Matthew Petersen, 23-year-old Blake Hemminger, of Letcher, was driving north in a Ford F-250 pickup shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday on 404th Avenue when he lost control of his vehicle near 247th Street, about five miles north and five miles west of Mitchell.

The vehicle swerved into the west ditch, swerved across the road and into the east ditch, and rolled before coming to rest on the road.

Two passengers in the vehicle — 28-year-old Joseph Sandness and 27-year-old Patrick Johnson, both of Woonsocket — were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the vehicle. Both suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries and were taken by ambulance to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell.

Two other passengers — 22-year-old Connor Sachtjen, of Burke, and 29-year-old Jackson Grassel, of Woonsocket — were also not wearing seat belts, but were not ejected and suffered no injuries in the crash.

Hemminger, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered minor injuries. He was arrested for first-offense drunken driving, a misdemeanor, and vehicular battery, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Hemminger was booked at the Davison County Jail on Sunday, but posted bail and was released.

He is scheduled to appear in court next month.

The Highway Patrol, Davison County Sheriff’s Office, Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office, Mitchell Ambulance and Letcher Fire Department all responded to the crash.