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Woman charged for fleeing accident scene

By Tim Ruzek

The Post-Bulletin

After striking a pedestrian with a minivan Saturday, Bobbi Jo Schlichter sped off out of fear, a criminal complaint says.

Police, however, arrested Schlichter within an hour based on information from a witness who followed the speeding Schlichter and reported her license plate, according to the complaint.

Schlichter, a 21-year-old Austin woman with a canceled driver’s license, allegedly told police that the pedestrian — a 56-year-old Austin man — "appeared out of nowhere" and that she saw him fall to the ground.

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Now Schlichter, who has a prior conviction for leaving an accident scene, faces a felony charge in Mower District Court for criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm, along with misdemeanor driving after cancellation.

On Tuesday, Judge Donald E. Rysavy set conditional bail for Schlichter at $5,000, records show. She’s to return to court Nov. 30.

The injured pedestrian, Dwight Sturm, was reported in fair condition Monday and since has been released from Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, a Mayo Clinic spokeswoman said.

Police responded at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday to the hit-and-run collision at Fourth Street and Second Avenue Southwest.

Sturm had minor facial cuts, but officers began to realize he likely suffered head trauma after Sturm claimed to be OK while unable to recall getting hit by a vehicle, the complaint says.

An ambulance took Sturm to Austin Medical Center for a skull fracture and intracranial bleeding. He then was taken to Rochester.

Schlichter was driving south on Fourth Street when she turned east onto Second Avenue and collided with Sturm, the complaint stated.

Court records show Schlichter was sentenced in February 2005 for misdemeanor leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. A judge ordered her to pay more than $3,400 in restitution to the victim, do community service and write a letter of apology.

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