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Le Mars man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide

Le Mars man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide

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SIOUX CITY -- A Le Mars, Iowa, man has pleaded not guilty to driving drunk and causing a vehicle rollover crash that resulted in his passenger's death.

Darrick Toel, 38, entered his written plea Tuesday in Woodbury County District Court to charges of vehicular homicide and operating while intoxicated.

According to court documents, Toel was driving approximately 90 mph at about 7:50 p.m. on July 1 in the 7200 block of Old Lakeport Road when he lost control of his Saturn Ion, left the road, partially rolled and struck a tree.

His passenger, Ryan Toel, 37, of Struble, Iowa, was seriously injured and died two days later.

Officers responding to the crash found several cans of Bud Light, some of them open, inside and outside the car at the scene. A blood test taken about an hour after the crash showed Toel's blood-alcohol content was 0.111 percent, above Iowa's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent, court documents said.

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Investigators believe the car was traveling south when it left the roadway and struck a pole on the east side of the street. The cause of the accident and contributing factors are still under investigation.

Authorities estimated the man was driving approximately 90 mph when he lost control of his Saturn Ion, left the road, partially rolled and struck a tree. His cousin, a passenger in the vehicle, was seriously injured and died two days later.

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