PIERZ TOWNSHIP, Minn. (KMPS) - An ATV driver has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide for allegedly driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a mother of seven in Morrison County over the weekend.
At 8:17 p.m. on Saturday, deputies with the Morrison County sheriff’s office responded a report of an ATV accident ton the Soo Line Trail near 280th Avenue in Pierz Township. The ATV was traveling west on the trail when it rolled and ejected one of the one of the passengers. The passenger, 37-year-old Karla Scheel of Rice, was trapped under the ATV. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the ATV, identified as Eric Scholl, 45, of Royalton, and another passenger were not seriously injured.
When speaking to Scholl, a deputy noticed a strong odor of alcohol on him as well as bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a staggered balance.
Scholl performed poorly on several sobriety tests. He was arrested for driving drunk.
According to the charges, the other passenger told police the three of them had been at the Hillman Bar and Grill in Hillman.
While crossing 280th Avenue on the Soo Line Trail, Scholl lost control of the ATV and it rolled on its side. Scholl and the other passenger were able to get the ATV upright and found Scheel under the vehicle.
Scheel was married and had seven children ranging in age from 17 to three. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family cover the funeral and other expenses.
"It’s tragic we have to look after the well-being of the seven children that are here now and don't have a mother," said Amanda Hepson, Scheel’s sister-in-law. “She was incredible. She was a really great person.”
Family members say in addition to raising her family and running her family farm, Scheel also helped her husband's trucking company and taught religion classes at the family's church. They say she also went out her way to help other people.
"She really touched a lot of lives. She is going to be missed by a lot of people," Hepson said.
Scholl posted $25,000 bail and was released with no conditions.