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Published April 02 2010

Detroit Lakes man sentenced to more than 18 years

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – A Detroit Lakes man was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison Thursday in Becker County District Court after being found guilty of causing the deaths of four people and seriously injuring two others in a July 4, 2009, rollover accident near Pine Point.

Chad Eric Stewart, 26, was convicted of six felony counts on Feb. 5: four were for criminal vehicular homicide and two for criminal vehicular operation (resulting in great bodily harm on the first charge and substantial bodily harm on the second).

It was determined that Stewart was driving the van with six other passengers when it left the road and rolled during the early-morning hours of July 4, 2009 on County Highway 37.

The accident resulted in the deaths of Charlene Norcross, 22; Kayla Norcross, 25; Gregory Norcross, 45; and Scott Adams, 27, all of Ponsford.

The accident also caused severe injury to two other passengers in the vehicle: Donna Peake, 22, and Amber Goodman, 23, also both of Ponsford. Peake was left paralyzed, and Goodman suffered traumatic brain injury and multiple broken bones.

Stewart was sentenced to 71 months in prison on the first charge of vehicular homicide and an additional 48 months in prison for the other three counts. It was also ordered that he serve the sentences on those four charges consecutively rather than concurrently (i.e., one after the other rather than simultaneously). He was also ordered to pay $140 in court fines and fees.