UPDATE: Driver charged in fatal Walsh Co. crash appears in court

There were a total of 6 occupants in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Published: Nov. 13, 2022 at 9:54 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2022 at 12:23 PM CST
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WALSH COUNTY, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The man behind the wheel in a deadly Walsh County crash over the weekend had his initial appearance in court Tuesday.

46-year-old Christopher Thompson is charged with one class A felony of DUI resulting in a death, as well as one class C felony of DUI resulting in injury.

North Dakota Highway Patrol were called around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 to Walsh County Road 9 just east of Edinburgh. Troopers say Thompson’s SUV entered the north ditch, and struck a tree. When troopers arrived, 48-year-old Jason Schatzke of Wheatland, ND was dead on scene and 57-year-old Rodney Olson of Halstad, MN was injured. Thompson, as well as the three other passengers, 52-year-old Brent Baldwin, Schatzke’s wife, Tanya, and Olson’s wife, Anita were uninjured.

Court documents say when troopers were speaking with Thompson on scene, troopers could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Thompson, as well as noticed his slurred speech and red, glossy eyes. Thompson admitted to having five or six drinks before getting behind the wheel, documents allege.

Thompson refused to do a breath test on scene, but said he would do a blood draw, court documents state. The sample was sent to the North Dakota State Crime Lab, and results have not yet been released.

Thompson paid a $5,000 cash bail, and was ordered to not consume any alcohol. If convicted on the vehicular homicide charge, Thompson faces up to 20 years in prison. A mugshot was not immediately available as of this publication. His next court appearance is March 3.