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Driver sentenced for vehicular homicide PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Rahn

Managing Editor

Benjamin J. Pelster, 33, was sentenced in Perkins County Court March 3 on a Class 1 Misdemeanor for motor vehicle homicide.

Judge Edward D. Steenburg sentenced Pelster to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine plus costs of prosecution, restitution for costs of autopsy  and blood tests, along with 24 months of probation for his role in the death of 28-year-old Debra Palser of Elsie on July 13, 2009.

Pelster was charged with motor vehicle homicide following an accident that claimed the life of Palser as she was traveling westbound on Highway 23 and was struck by a farm sprayer driven by Pelster, who entered the highway from the north, failing to yield. 

Pelster will serve his jail time intermittently in 14-day increments (the first of which began March 4)  and one-day increments, plus a final 28-day incarceration to complete the 90-day sentence over the next 24 months.

Steenburg also ordered Pelster to write a letter of apology to all of the family members affected by Palser’s death, including her parents, husband, siblings, plus a passenger in the vehicle. 

Palser and the passenger were returning from a doctor’s check up for Palser’s infant son. Neither the baby nor the passenger were critically injured.