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Superior man charged in 2011 fatal crash

DULUTH -- A Superior, Wis., man has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide, more than three years after a car crash that killed his co-worker along U.S. Highway 53 in Minnesota’s St. Louis County.

James Duane Voltzke, 39, was charged last week in State District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. The complaint alleges that Voltzke was intoxicated on April 14, 2011, when he failed to navigate a turn on the highway near Independence, crashing into a ditch and killing passenger Joseph Michael Lofald, 28.

The crash was investigated by the Minnesota State Patrol, but the case was only recently submitted to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office for charges. Sgt. Curt Mowers, a spokesman for the patrol, said the investigation was delayed due to the retirement of the original investigator and a heavy caseload at the time.

Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Vicky Wanta said two counts were brought against Voltzke because of a nuance in state law. One count simply alleges that Voltzke was “under the influence of alcohol” at the time of the crash, while the other specifically claims that he had “an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.”

Voltzke’s first court appearance is scheduled for May 20.