Driver faces vehicular homicide charges in death of Steen woman

Christopher Weber made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon, July 2, on felony charges related to his cell phone use while driving a pickup that struck and killed 33-year-old Andrea Boeve Monday, June 30.

Judge Gordon Moore read the charges out loud in Rock County District Court, Luverne, and asked Weber if he understood the charges and his rights.

He did, and acknowledged that he had received a copy of the formal complaint.

Weber, 25, of Hills, faces two felony charges — criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation — for operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

During Wednesday’s court hearing, Judge Moore reviewed information from a pretrial bail study that determines bail amounts and conditions.

The research shows that Weber grew up in Madison, S.D., and graduated from high school there. He attended South Dakota State University, Brookings, but did not receive a degree from SDSU.

He’s been working 3 1/2 years as an electrician with Meyer Electric, Larchwood, and was most recently living in a home near Hills that he was renting from a co-worker.

Judge Moore questioned Weber about his living arrangements for the purposes of maintaining contact with the court.

Weber said he moved to the Hills property when he and his girlfriend parted ways. “The rent was cheap, and it was a quick place to go after work,” he told the judge.

Weber said he’s been renting near Hills for the past 10 months and prior to that lived in Brandon for six months and in Sioux Falls for a year before that.

Moore asked Weber if it would be appropriate to use his Madison address for court documents, and Weber agreed.

The bail study also shows that Weber has two children whom he’s supporting financially.

He’s a member of the Army National Guard in Huron, S.D., and holds the rank of Sgt. E-5.

He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009-10.

Rock County Assistant County Attorney Jeff Haubrich told Judge Moore that the bail study score, based on the seriousness of the charges, puts the recommended bail at $50,000 for unconditional release and $20,000 for conditional release.

Conditions on the release are that Weber maintain contact with his attorney, not leave the tri-state area (Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa), not operate a commercial vehicle and not operate a cell phone in any vehicle of any kind.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, Weber was transported back to the Nobles County Jail where he would arrange for bail.

His next court appearance has been set for 9:25 a.m. Monday, July 14. It will be Weber’s first court appearance with an attorney — either a court-appointed public defender or a private attorney.

The purpose of the hearing, referred to as a Rule 8 hearing, is to review the facts of the case and enter a plea.

Judge Terry Vajgrt, who was absent Wednesday, will preside over the Weber case from then on.

 

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