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Truck driver charged with felony in injury accident in Minnesota

WILLMAR, Minn. — A truck driver faces a felony charge for allegedly rear-ending a vehicle and severely injuring a passenger in May.

Michael Smith, 37, of Melrose, was released on his own recognizance July 29 after being arraigned on a felony charge of criminal vehicular homicide or operation —operate a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner in Kandiyohi County. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of careless driving.

The criminal complaint said Smith was driving a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 71 and approaching the intersection with County Road 29 in Kandiyohi County around 12:45 p.m. May 31. Casey Jenny, 25, of New London, was stopped or nearly stopped in a pickup while waiting for traffic to clear to make a left turn.

Jenny saw the semi driven by Smith approaching at a high rate of speed, the complaint said. Realizing the truck would be unable to stop, Jenny accelerated in an attempt to avoid collision but was unable to do so, the complaint said.

The semi struck the pickup, and passenger Matthew Moen, 24, of Reynolds, suffered a broken neck and back, according to the complaint.

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