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Published: Thursday, 6/21/2007

Fatal Bedford Township car chase set for trial

Krell Krell

MONROE - Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in a case which stems from a fatal traffic accident on June 15, 2006 that involved local teenagers and resulted in charges against two people, including former Bedford Township School Board member Randy Krell.

Oberle Oberle

A final pretrial conference in preparation for the trial is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. today before Chief Judge Michael W. LaBeau of Monroe County Circuit Court.

Mr. Krell and the other defendant, Austin Oberle, 18, of Toledo, a recent Whitmer High School graduate, are both charged with vehicular manslaughter and felonious driving.

District Judge Mark S. Braunlich and Judge LaBeau have agreed with prosecutors that there is probable cause Mr. Krell chased a car full of teenagers through Bedford Township for miles on June 15, 2006.

The chase is believed to have occurred at speeds up to 85 mph after passenger Charlie L. Fackelman, 17, of Toledo, threw a plastic water bottle at Mr. Krell's car, authorities have said.

The car was driven by Mr. Oberle. It went through an intersection and into a ditch, hitting a tree off the west side of Whiteford Center Road.

The crash killed the Fackelman youth and severely injured Stevie Beale, 17, of Bedford.

Conviction on the two felonies carries a maximum of 15 years in prison, Monroe County Prosecutor William Paul Nichols said.

The trial is expected to last three days.

Judge LaBeau agreed, at the request of Mr. Oberle's attorney, Robert A. Manion, to wait until late June so that Mr. Oberle could graduate with his high school classmates.

Charles V. Fackelman, the father of the deceased youth, is to undergo a preliminary examination July 17 on charges of home invasion and assault with a dangerous weapon stemming from an incident on March 28, in which he is accused of chasing Mr. Krell with a gun. No injuries were reported.

Jack Simms, an assistant county prosecutor, said the two felony charges against the Fackelman youth's father carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.

At today's hearing, Mr. Krell's attorney, William P. Godfroy, is expected to ask that Judge LaBeau suppress expert testimony about the mechanical condition of the car Mr. Oberle drove.

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