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Charges filed in death of snowmobiler

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Charges have been filed against Mark Andrew Ruder, the driver involved in the snowmobile crash that resulted in the death of off-duty Alexandria Police Officer Patrick Callaghan.

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Ruder, 25, was charged Thursday with two misdemeanor counts as a result of the incident - one count of operating a snowmobile at an unreasonable speed and one count of operating a snowmobile without a valid snowmobile safety certificate.

"After a review of the entire file and considering the facts and circumstances of the events that led up to this crash, I have concluded there are no applicable felony-level charges," said Douglas County Attorney Chris Karpan in a news release Thursday morning.

He explained that the first count alleges that Ruder was operating the snowmobile at an excessive speed under the circumstances.

Karpan added that regarding the second count, Minnesota law provides that anyone born after December 31, 1976, must have a valid snowmobile safety certificate in order to operate a snowmobile. Ruder did not, he said.

Ruder's court date has been set for March 22.

The fatal snowmobile crash took place January 29 on the Central Lakes Trail east of Alexandria near Liberty Road.

Last week, the blood alcohol test results from Ruder and Callaghan were released.

The results indicated that the blood alcohol concentration for Callaghan was .04 and the level for Ruder was .06 - both under the .08 legal limit for operating a vehicle, which includes snowmobiles.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released the results Thursday, February 18 to law enforcement officials.

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