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Forum staff reports, Published April 19 2012

25-year-old Page man pleads not guilty in charges linked to fatal crash

FARGO – A 25-year-old Cass County man facing manslaughter and other charges linked to a fatal rollover crash that killed a passenger in the a vehicle he was driving last fall has pleaded not guilty.

Keagan Allan Haas of Page entered the pleas at a hearing Thursday in Cass County District Court.

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol’s report, Haas was driving a 1998 Chevy Suburban Nov. 5 near Amenia when the vehicle went off a curve, entered a ditch and vaulted over an approach. It struck a stop sign while airborne and rolled when it landed in a field, the report states.

Haas and two passengers were ejected from the vehicle. Joshua Melvin, 30, of Page, was killed. Haas and a female passenger, Jody Arttus, 43, of West Fargo, were hospitalized.

A witness told the North Dakota Highway Patrol that the Suburban passed him at a “very high rate of speed” before it crashed, according to the patrol. Haas is also accused of drinking before the crash and allegedly had prescription drugs in his system.

Haas also pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance.

His next court appearance is set for June 13.