Charles Willis Gramith, 72, of Roseville, Mn. was formally charged today with three felony counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide in connection with a boating death on Otter Tail Lake.  Neil "Pete" Baker, 52,  of Elysian, Mn. was killed when his parked boat was hit by the Gramith operated boat on Saturday.

The Criminal Complaint against Gramith states "On August 22, 2020 at approximately 3:24 p.m. the Otter Tail Sheriff's Office responded to a report involving two boats that crashed on Otter Tail Lake."

"Deputy Allen Mekash spoke with Baker's wife (Pam) who stated she was with her husband and two children boating and had just arrived at their residence.  She was assisting her husband tying up the boat when she observed her next-door neighbor, Charles Gramith, traveling toward them at a high rate of speed.  She said loudly, 'He's coming in hot.'  Defendant's boat then collided with their boat knocking her down.  She was unable to find her husband.  After hitting their boat, she observed defendant's boat circling before gaining control."

Deputy Mekash then spoke with Gramith.  The Criminal Complaint says, "He admitted he was the driver of the boat and first stated he thought something was caught on the steering wheel, but then he said he was not sure what happened.  Deputy Mekash observed his eyes were bloodshot and watery.  Defendant was licking his lips continuously and there was a moderate odor of alcohol coming from him.  Defendant admitted that he takes a number of medications."

"After the crash, defendant said he thought about jumping into the water but did not.  He put his boat onto the lift and went into the house to get a glass of water as it was hot.  Defendant said he had consumed two beers in the boat and one earlier, but none since returning the boat."

Defendant was asked about his medications and stated, "he is on blood thinners and listed a number of prescriptions."  The Deputy retrieved a list of medications from his wife and identified "a number of additional medications that were not mentioned by the defendant."

"The medications  were reviewed by Lieutenant Keith Van Dyke with a pharmacist and jail staff.  At least two of the medications prescribed to the defendant , an anti-anxiety and blood thinner, both indicate warnings for use with alcohol and potential for increased impairment.  A preliminary breath test of defendant revealed a .051 blood alcohol concentration.  Defendant was transported to Lake Region Hospital for a blood sample that was sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing."

"Defendant was then placed under arrest and stated, 'okay.'

The Criminal Complaint also says Baker's body was transported to the County Coroner for examination.

"Preliminary autopsy results indicate Baker, Suffered significant head trauma and lacerations to the shoulder and neck areas that caused instant death."

The three felony counts include Criminal Vehicular Homicide- Operate Motor Vehicle in Grossly Negligent Manner.  Criminal Vehicular Homicide- Operate Vehicle with Negligence- Under Influence Alcohol and Criminal Vehicular Homicide-Operate Motor Vehicle Under Influence of Intoxicating Substance.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of not more than ten years in prison, payment of a fine of not more than $20,000 or both.




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