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Published: Friday, 6/22/2007

Evidence in Bedford Township crash won't be blocked

BY BENJAMIN ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Randy Krell, a former member of the Bedford school board faces charges in the crash that killed one teen and injured another in 2006. Randy Krell, a former member of the Bedford school board faces charges in the crash that killed one teen and injured another in 2006.
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MONROE - Attorneys for former Bedford school board member Randy Krell and recent Whitmer High School graduate Austin Oberle yesterday hashed out details with prosecutors to prepare for a jury trial scheduled to begin Monday in a fatal car crash last year.

Prosecutors have said that Mr. Krell chased a car full of teenagers at speeds up to 85 mph through Bedford Township for miles after one of the teens threw a plastic bottle at his car.

The car driven by Mr. Oberle, now 18, went through an intersection and hit a tree off the west side of Whiteford Center Road.

The crash killed Charlie Fackelman, 17, of Toledo, and severely injured Stevie Beale, now 18, of Bedford.

At the final pretrial hearing yesterday in a Monroe County Circuit Court, Mr. Oberle's attorney, Robert Manion, argued that the judge should suppress expert testimony about the mechanical condition of Mr. Oberle's car.

Mr. Krell's attorney, William Godfroy, and Monroe County Prosecutor William Paul Nichols recently had experts examine whether the car's brakes were working at the time of the accident.

Mr. Manion said that because the car had been out of the prosecution's supervision for about 10 months, it is possible the brakes could have been repaired during that period.

Monroe County Circuit Judge Michael W. LaBeau did not suppress the evidence.

Austin Oberle, a recent Whitmer High graduate, faces charges in the crash that killed one teen and injured another in 2006. Austin Oberle, a recent Whitmer High graduate, faces charges in the crash that killed one teen and injured another in 2006.
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The judge said the prosecution has the burden of proof at trial to show that the brakes were not repaired during the 10-month lapse.

Miss Beale's father, Alfie Beale, tracked down Mr. Oberle's car at an insurance auction in August and purchased it, hoping to find some answers.

He likely will be called as a witness to try to determine whether he altered the car while it was in his possession.

Mr. Krell and Mr. Oberle are each charged with vehicular manslaughter and felonious driving.

Conviction on the two felony charges could carry a maximum of 15 years in prison, Mr. Nichols said. However, a more likely sentence would be three to five years, he said.



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