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Associated Press, Published December 06 2011

UPDATED: Passenger texts 'Im scaryed for my life' from speeding car before fatal crash

BISMARCK, N.D. — A passenger who died with two other young men in a Mandan car crash sent text messages shortly before the accident saying he feared for his life, according to authorities.

The driver, Taylor Berhow of Bismarck, was charged Monday with three counts of felony manslaughter for the Oct. 29 deaths of 21-year-old Charles Boehm, 21-year-old Trevor Erie and 22-year-old Eastman Nadeau. Another passenger, 22-year-old Jarrod Turner, was injured.

Boehm sent a friend a text message at 12:57 a.m. that said, “Thete driving crazy im scaryed,” the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/rQEA6z). Another message sent at 12:59 said, “Im scaryed for my life.” His final message was sent at 1 a.m.

The car struck a tree and caught fire at 1:02 a.m., police said.

Berhow's blood-alcohol content was .266, or three times the legal limit, authorities said. On Monday, South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland set bond at 10 percent of $10,000. Berhow was prohibited from using alcohol and ordered to wear alcohol monitoring and GPS bracelets to make sure he stays out of bars, the Tribune reported.

According to an affidavit from Mandan Police Sgt. Jay Gruebele, police performed a crash reconstruction in the case and found that tire marks at the scene indicated Berhow was driving between 75-85 mph when he lost control in the 35-mph zone and slammed into the tree.

A witness who saw Berhow's vehicle in the moments before the crash was reported — around the time of Boehm's frightened text messages — said it appeared the vehicle drove into a ditch while turning onto Memorial Highway, then swerved and appeared to go up on two wheels as it turned onto Third Street Southeast.

Berhow was hospitalized for a few days. Turner, the lone surviving passenger, spent more than a week in the hospital with internal injuries, the Tribune reported.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com


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