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Bowman man pleads not guilty to negligent homicide

A Bowman man who is charged with negligent homicide in an August vehicle accident near Belfield that killed a former abbot at the Assumption Abbey in Richardton will be bound over for further hearings in the matter.

Thomas Dickson, who is the attorney representing the defendant, MicKenzie John Robertson, 22, said at Monday's preliminary hearing in Southwest District Court at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson that Robertson wished to waive his right to a preliminary hearing.

A preliminary hearing requires the state to provide enough evidence to proceed with further hearings involving the case.

Dickson also said his client pleads not guilty to the charge of negligent homicide.

According to a North Dakota Highway Patrol crash report released two days after the accident, Robertson was traveling north on Highway 85 near Belfield in a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado at 11:23 p.m. Aug. 9 when he appeared to drift into the southbound lane.

Robertson's vehicle struck a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix traveling south on Highway 85 that was being driven by Patrick Moore, 73, of New England. Moore had served as an abbot at the Assumption Abbey from 1988 until 2004, when he retired at the age of 65.

Moore attempted to steer into the northbound lane and avoid the crash, but was struck head on by Robertson's vehicle. Robertson's truck came to rest in the west ditch, while Moore's vehicle remained on the roadway, according to the crash report.

Moore was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders, and Robertson was transported to Dickinson by ambulance and then flown to Trinity Hospital in Minot. Both vehicles sustained major front end damage, according to the crash report.

According to the criminal complaint, Robertson was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed at the time of the collision.

Robertson was charged with a Class C felony, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if he is convicted of the charge.