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Forum News Service, Published August 07 2013

Suspect in hit-and-run death of Bemidji man violated probation 3 times

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Martin Erwin Ubert, arrested Tuesday in the July 31 hit-and-run death of a Bemidji man, fatally struck a horse with his vehicle in February and fled the scene, police said.

Ubert was on probation for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test in 2010 when he struck the horse Feb. 20 and tested positive for methamphetamines when a Beltrami County Sheriff's Office deputy caught up with the now-58-year-old the next day, according to a police report. The positive drug test is one of three probation violations committed by Ubert since that incident.

Police believe Ubert also fled July 31 after striking and killing Christopher Strong, 25, and is scheduled to be arraigned in that case today in Beltrami District Court.

Ubert was convicted in Clearwater County for refusing to take a breathalyzer test after being arrested following an April 24, 2010, traffic stop. As a result of that conviction, he was placed on four years’ probation, the conditions of which require him to remain law-abiding, to not possess alcohol and to not incur any driver's license infractions or driving without proof of insurance.

Ubert violated those terms at least three times -- twice in Beltrami County and once in Itasca County, court documents showed. Each violation was a petty misdemeanor that resulted in a fine.

Ubert turned himself in Friday and police seized the red Monte Carlo they believe struck Strong. Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said Tuesday that an arrest was not made immediately due to the forensic examination of the vehicle over the weekend.