Archie Ingersoll, Forum Communications Co., Published November 26 2010
93-year-old expected to plead guilty to driving charges
Faith Mitzel of Oberon, N.D., has a change-of-plea hearing set for Tuesday in Devils Lake.
State’s Attorney Lonnie Olson said Wednesday that he plans to ask for the maximum sentence – 60 days in jail – for Mitzel.
Olson has said that he’s seeking that sentence in the interest of public safety due to Mitzel’s driving history.
On May 19, Mitzel’s car hit two motorcycles on a highway in Benson County, N.D., killing a woman and seriously injuring two men, authorities said.
After an investigation, Mitzel was cited for driving on the wrong side of the road, and her license was suspended.
On Aug. 3, a Ramsey County deputy cited her for driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance. It’s on those charges that Olson wants the maximum sentence.
A message left for Mitzel’s attorney, Monty Stensland of Grand Forks, was not returned Wednesday.
Stensland, who’s known Mitzel for many years and is representing her pro bono, has said he’s intent on keeping her out of jail. Her case had been set for a jury trial.
He’s said jail time for Mitzel in this case would be an attempt to punish her for the May 19 crash, in which she was not criminally charged.
Archie Ingersoll is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald