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Report: Boat drivers had been drinking

Crash killed 1 driver

From staff and wire reports

STILLWATER, Minn. -- The drivers involved in a fatal boat collision on the St. Croix River July 3 had been drinking alcohol, the Washington County sheriff said Friday.

One driver, Lt. Nathan Nieber, was killed and five other people were injured in the crash. Neiber, 26, of North St. Paul, was stationed with the National Guard in Rochester from May 2000 to July 2001.

Blood-alcohol tests showed one boat driver had a blood-alcohol concentration of .05 percent, the other .02 percent, Sheriff Jim Frank said.

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He did not specify which driver had which measurement.

Nieber died in the water from critical injuries to his head and upper body when the 18-foot fishing boat he was driving was run over by a 31-foot cruiser.

The accident happened when the fishing boat stopped for an unknown reason.

Both boats contained National Guard members from the 34th Infantry Division who were out for a pre-holiday celebration.

The injured soldiers were Michael Wehking, 39, of Arden Hills; Amanda Digre, 34, of Maplewood; Angela Amundson, 31, of Cottage Grove; Scott MacDonald, 37, of Rosemount; and Judith Strain, 33, of Rochester.

The case has been submitted to the Washington County attorney's office to decide if criminal charges are appropriate.

No other information will be released until attorneys complete the review, Frank said.

Nieber, originally of Lindstrom, Minn., was the project officer in charge of readiness during his deployment in Rochester, with 110 troops under his command.

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He was with the company when it was sent to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from January to July 2001.

He had graduated first in his class from an elite Army Ranger school and was engaged to be married.

Nieber was most recently part of a planning group preparing a 1,000-soldier Minnesota National Guard unit for peacekeeping duty in Bosnia.

The Rochester-based unit was not called into service for the Bosnia mission.

His funeral was held in Roseville on July 9.

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