Drunk driving suspected cause of fatal Lake Elmo crash

James Lohr

A one-car crash June 6 in Lake Elmo that killed a passenger in the backseat is suspected to have been caused by a man driving drunk.

The driver failed field sobriety tests that revealed his blood alcohol level to be more than twice the legal limit, police say.

Washington County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a crash with injuries in the 900 block of Lake Elmo Avenue June 6 around midnight. 

They found Lake Elmo resident James Lohr, 43, and another passenger standing next to a car that was off the road and leaning against a tree. Lohr, according to the Washington County criminal complaint, alerted deputies to an injured person in the backseat. 

Inside was a 31-year-old man with a large head injury and massive bleeding, the complaint said. Deputies said his breathing was labored and he was unresponsive. He was transported by Washington County Emergency Medical Services to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead as a result of injuries from the crash. 

As emergency services attended to the victim, deputies allegedly noticed an odor of alcohol coming from Lohr and put him through field sobriety tests. The tests showed signs of intoxication, the complaint says, including a preliminary blood test showing a blood alcohol concentration of .189, far exceeding the legal limit of .08. 

Lohr was charged in Washington County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

He’s out on bail and is due back in court June 17. 


—Solomon Gustavo

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