Cokato Man Charged in Triple Fatal Crash
A Cokato man has been charged in a deadly crash that killed three people, all from the same family.
According to the criminal complaint, 21-Year-Old Paul Wickenhauser is charged with four counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide or Operation and one count of possessing an open bottle.
The State Patrol says Wickenhauser was driving a pickup truck east on Highway 12 near Willmar when he crossed the center line and hit a minivan head on just after 9 p.m. Friday. The minivan went into the ditch and caught on fire.
Five-year-old Jason Hoffman was the only survivor of the crash. He is in good condition, and is expected to be released from the hospital in several days. His mom, sister, and grandmother were all killed.
Forty-year-old Michelle Hoffman of Eden Prairie and her 68-year-old mother-in-law Marta Stoffers of Atwater died at the scene. Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter, Julia, was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
The State Patrol says Stoffers was driving the family back to her house after seeing a movie.
An open bottle of alcohol was found in Wickenhauser's truck, according to the State Patrol. There was a broken alcohol container on the roadway and a bottle of rum in the cab of the pickup. There was also a cooler with alcoholic drinks in the cargo area of the truck.
Wickenhauser admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages before driving that night. A preliminary blood-alcohol test showed a reading of .07.
Wickenhauser was treated and released for his injuries. He's being held in the Kandiyohi Jail.
On Friday, a visitation at Grace Church in Eden Prairie will start at 10 a.m. to celebrate the lives of Michelle and Julia. The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. followed by time for fellowship, snacks and refreshments at the church.
Click here to read “Three Generations of Eden Prairie Family Killed in Head-On Crash.”