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Gretchen Schlosser, Forum Communications, Published July 31 2012

Charges: Suspect in Minn. crash that killed basketball coach's son had 4 times blood-alcohol limit

GLENWOOD, Minn. — Dana Allen Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, made his first court appearance Monday on three criminal vehicular homicide or operation charges for allegedly driving while impaired and causing a motor vehicle crash that killed 5 month old Drake Bigler Saturday evening in Pope County.

According to the criminal complaint against Shoen, a preliminary breath test at the scene of the crash, near the intersection of State Highway 29 and County Road 41, showed his blood-alcohol content at 0.351, more than four times the legal limit of 0.08.

Drake Bigler, the son of Brad and Heather Bigler of Marshall, is identified by his initials in the complaint. The child was pronounced dead at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood. Heather Bigler was driving a GMC Acadia that collided head-on with a Dodge pickup driven by Schoen.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Brad and Heather Bigler, and another passenger, Heather’s grandmother, Sharon Schuler, 74, of Granite Falls, were taken to Glacial Ridge Hospital and then transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., for treatment of critical injuries.

Brad Bigler is the men’s basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

According to the complaint, a responding State Trooper noted that the entire passenger side of the sport utility vehicle was torn off and lying in the ditch several feet away from the vehicle. A man who came upon the crash found the infant still buckled into his car seat, which was dangling from the side of the SUV. The man unbuckled the car seat and stabilized the child’s head.

According to state records, Schoen was convicted of gross misdemeanor drunken driving in 2005 and for DUI in 2000. In both of those cases, his blood-alcohol content was greater than 0.20. or 2½ times the legal limit in Minnesota.

He also has convictions for reckless driving and speeding.