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Emily Welker, Published October 11 2013

Investigators use DNA in effort to ID driver in crash that killed Wheatland man

FARGO – Authorities are investigating for possible criminal charges a crash that killed a 25-year-old man earlier this month near Wolverton, Minn.

According to a search warrant filed Thursday in Cass County District Court, sheriff’s deputies took DNA evidence from a man hospitalized with life-threatening injuries in the crash in hopes of determining if he was driving the car at the time of the collision.

Officers found opened cans of Keystone Light beer and half an open bottle of Ron Diaz Rum in the car, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Justin Scott Olson, 25, of Wheatland, was killed in the crash shortly after 5 p.m. Oct. 4 on U.S. Highway 75 near 110th Avenue.

According to reports from the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2003 Dodge Neon was southbound on Highway 75 and while going around a curve struck a 2005 Dodge Caravan.

Law enforcement officials found three men had been in the Neon, one of whom, Justin Scott Olson, 25, was thrown 50 feet from the car, where authorities found him dead in a plowed field.

A witness later told officers the Neon had been speeding on the wrong side of the road. Officers determined the driver had lost control and slid across the center lane, and was hit by the minivan coming in the opposite direction.

Two Fargo men who were in the Neon were found alive at the scene: Robin Duane Olson, 27, who was conscious and alert, lying near the shoulder of the northbound lane, and Allen Keith Burcham, 25, who was found at the bottom of the ditch near the car with life-threatening injuries.

The search warrant says DNA collected from Burcham would be used by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab to place where in the car the men were at the time of the crash.

There was blood on the driver’s side of the vehicle, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow said blood alcohol tests were performed on all three men who had been in the car.

Grabow said the results of those tests were not yet in.

According to court records, a caller told authorities just minutes before the crash that a white passenger car in the area had forced two other vehicles out of their lane and onto the shoulder.

The driver of the Caravan was hospitalized with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening, the State Patrol said at the time of the cras.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541