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Mike Nowatzki, Published July 22 2009

Man sentenced for fatal crash that killed 72-year-old woman

HILLSBORO, N.D. – A Walcott man entered a plea today that does not contest his guilt to reckless endangerment charges related to the death of 72-year-old woman in a two-vehicle crash near Blanchard.

Ryan Berggren, 27, had previously pleaded not guilty to felony charges of reckless endangerment and negligent homicide. He entered an Alford plea today in Traill County District Court in Hillsboro to the felony reckless endangerment charge and a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge.

The negligent homicide charge was then dismissed.

East Central Judicial District Judge Georgia Dawson called the case “a very tragic set of circumstances” and sentenced Berggren to one year, all suspended for three years, during which he will be on supervised probation.

Berggren was also ordered to pay $800 in fines and fees.

He is accused of driving a semi hauling a combine on a trailer without safety lights on July 25, 2008, causing the death of Barbara Mueller of Cummings.

Another vehicle struck the tires before Mueller.

Berggren did not address the court this morning.

For more on this story, see Thursday's Forum.