Driver in crash killing New England coach charged with Criminal Vehicular Homicide

Sergio Ruiz Ledezma

A Dickinson man has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide after an accident on South State Avenue Wednesday resulted in the death of Shawn Flaherty, a coach and teacher in New England.

Sergio Ruiz Ledezma, 58, appeared in Stark County District Court Friday before Judge Dann Greenwood for an initial appearance where a cash bond was set at $200,000. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Ledezma in Stark County District Court for Jan. 6, 2020, at 2:30 p.m.

The incident occurred at approximately 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. Dickinson Police Officers responded to a 9-1-1 report of a multiple vehicle accident with serious injuries on South State Avenue near the intersection of Diamond Drive.

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Ledezma was traveling southbound and drivers Matthew Biel and Flaherty were both traveling northbound on State Avenue when Ledezma's vehicle crossed the center line and struck Biel's vehicle on the rear driver's side.

After striking Biel's vehicle, Ledezma's vehicle struck head-on with Flaherty's vehicle killing the coach.


Biel's vehicle came to rest partially on the northbound roadway and the east sidewalk, while Ledezma and Flaherty's vehicles came to rest within the intersection of State and Diamond.

The three drivers were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.

Ledezma was transported to CHI St. Alexius Hospital and later transferred to Bismarck Sanford Hospital by Dickinson Ambulance for injuries sustained in the crash.

Biel was not injured in the crash, but Flaherty, 64, was pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

The crash remains under investigation by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Vehicular homicide is a type of crime that results in the death of a person that isn't the driver. Vehicular homicide always falls into the category of either criminal negligence, or an intent of committing murder with the vehicle. Vehicular homicide is in no way different from a regular murder, the only characteristic being that a vehicle is used as the weapon.

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