A motorist was high on a cocktail of illicit drugs when he went through a red light and rammed his large pickup truck into a compact car crossing his path in Minnetonka, killing a grade school educator driving to work, according to charges filed Wednesday.
Tests on defendant Darvin T. Basche, 50, of Apple Valley, showed he had methamphetamine, amphetamine and marijuana in his system at the time of the crash on Sept. 24 that killed Elizabeth P. Ketcher, 58, of Burnsville, said the felony charge filed in Hennepin County District Court.
Ketcher was within 3 miles of arriving for work that morning as a paraprofessional in Chinese language immersion at Excelsior Elementary School. Ketcher emigrated from Taiwan, married and raised three children.
Basche’s criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for drug possession, drunken driving and having an open liquor bottle in a vehicle.
The State Patrol relied on witness accounts, traffic camera video, crash reconstruction analysis and toxicology results in its investigation of the four-vehicle wreck.
According to the criminal complaint alleging criminal vehicular homicide:
About 7:40 a.m., Basche was in his Ford Super Duty pickup on northbound Hwy. 101 at Hwy. 7.
Ketcher’s car, having a green light on westbound Hwy. 7, entered the intersection and was hit on the driver’s side door by the pickup.
The impact of the crash sent Ketcher’s car banging into two other vehicles at the intersection.
“The force of the impact pushed [Basche’s] pickup far enough into Ms. Ketcher’s cabin that neither her engaged seat belt nor her deployed air bags could save her,” the complaint read.
Basche, driving alone, and the people in the other two vehicles were unhurt. There were no passengers in Ketcher’s car.
Troopers summoned a drug recognition expert to the scene because Basche’s “behavior suggested he was under the influence of chemicals.” Analysis of his blood showed that he had methamphetamine, amphetamine and THC (the chemical ingredient in marijuana) in his system.
Basche was charged by summons and remains free ahead of a court appearance scheduled for April 18.