Bemidji man who tried to pin fatal crash on victim sentenced

Published 8:31 am Tuesday, September 27, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS — A Bemidji man will serve a year in jail for a fatal St. Patrick’s Day crash that he tried to pin on his friend who died in the rollover.

Thirty-year-old Christopher Smith was sentenced Monday in Itasca County court for felony criminal vehicular homicide.

As part of his 10 years probation, Smith will have to pay a fine of $1,085, provide a DNA sample, undergo a chemical dependency evaluation and not use alcohol or non-prescription drugs.

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Authorities say Smith was driving when the vehicle drifted off Highway 65 near Goodland on March 17. A trooper asked who was driving and Smith allegedly pointed to the body of 56-year-old Mark Wirtjes.

Wirtjes was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the pickup. Another passenger said Smith was driving.