Paynesville Man Pleads Guilty in Fatal Crash 21 Jun 16

A Paynesville man has pleaded guilty to driving drunk and causing a crash that killed two teens and injured another.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ben Tate was drunk on August 25th of last year when his pickup crossed the centerline of Highway 24 near Litchfield and crashed into an oncoming vehicle, killing 19-year-old Travis Monson and 16-year-old Zachary Rohrbeck, both of Watkins, and seriously injuring 16-year-old Kathleen Prestidge of Montrose.

KWLM reports Tate’s trial had been slated for August 2nd, but at a pre-trial hearing in Meeker County District Court yesterday (Monday) Tate pleaded guilty to two counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide and a count of Criminal Vehicular Operation Causing Bodily Harm. Judge Stephanie Beckman ordered a pre-sentence investigation, and Tate will be sentenced August 8th.

Court officials say they will seek an upward departure from sentencing guidelines.