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Forum staff reports, Published October 20 2010

Dilworth woman set to plead guilty in 2008 fatal crash in Richland County

A Dilworth woman charged in a fatal crash nearly two years ago in Richland County, N.D., is scheduled to plead guilty.

Online court records show Melanie Flegel, 39, is slated to plead guilty in the case on Oct. 27.

A trial scheduled for Tuesday was canceled. Last month, District Judge Daniel Narum rejected a plea deal that would have given Flegel a year in jail.

She faces a manslaughter charge for a rollover car crash in November 2008 that killed Ricky Santiago, 42, of Fargo. Santiago was a back-seat passenger in her vehicle.

Police said she was drinking before the accident.

Narum said he preferred a longer pronounced sentence that wouldn’t convert to a misdemeanor after it was served. If a sentence in a felony case is one year or less in North Dakota and probation is successfully completed, the conviction becomes a misdemeanor.