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Fatal hit-and-run case headed to jury

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday in a 34-year-old Oronoco man's fatal hit-and-run trial in Olmsted County District Court.

The prosecution and defense are both expected to wrap up their cases on Wednesday in the trial of Christopher Trautman, Judge Christina Stevens told jurors on Tuesday afternoon. She instructed jurors to bring belongings they might need during deliberations with them on Wednesday.

Trautman is accused of speeding and driving drunk on Nov. 27, 2010, resulting in collisions that seriously injured three people and killed 23-year-old Austin Melville of Rochester.

On Tuesday, jurors were shown photographs police had taken of Trautman's green Honda Civic after the collisions. The photos showed front-end damage and a shattered and caved-in windshield.

An empty bottle of beer could be seen on the floor of the car, under the steering wheel. Police say Trautman had a blood-alcohol level of 0.21 at the time of the collisions, more than double the driving legal limit of 0.08.


A police investigator also said a DNA sample taken from the car's steering wheel matched a DNA sample taken from Trautman.

The trial, which started Jan. 5, is on pace to conclude after less than five days of testimony.

Stevens originally projected an eight to 12-day trial. The defense chose not to contest the fact that Christopher Glenski, Tum Chan and Rebecca Noelle Dass suffered substantial bodily harm as the result of collisions on South Broadway. That significantly reduced the medical testimony the prosecution would have been required to produce. 

Trautman has pleaded not guilty to a gross misdemeanor and 22 felonies, including third-degree murder, in connection with the collisions on Broadway, which happened at Fourth Street and Center Street.

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