October 30, 2008

Woman pleads not guily in death


A Beulah woman has pleaded not guilty to a negligent homicide charge stemming from a one-vehicle accident that killed Jason Korbyn, 30, Beulah.

Kari Koapke, 23, Beulah, made her first court appearance on the charge in a preliminary hearing last Wednesday at the Mercer County Courthouse, Stanton. Following cases made by both the defense and prosecution, South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick declared probable cause for a trial.

Koapke was charged on Aug. 1 with negligent homicide – a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison, $5,000 fine, or both.

At Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, Mercer County State’s Attorney Jim Johnson called Mark Schmitt, detective with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, to the witness stand.

Schmitt testified a 911 call reporting a possible drunk driver was placed to the sheriff’s department from the Little Dipper Bar and Lounge, Zap, at about 12:30 a.m. May 19. Beulah police officer Eric Ahrens responded to the call and left Beulah traveling west on State Highway 200 to intercept the vehicle, Schmitt said. According to a written statement by Ahrens, he came upon a Dodge pickup in the north ditch about four miles east of Zap along Highway 200. Both of the vehicle’s occupants – Koapke and Korbyn – had been ejected from the vehicle. Koapke was "sitting on the ditch," Ahrens wrote, and he tended to her while emergency responders arrived to find Korbyn dead at the scene. Koapke was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Schmitt said he was contacted by the sheriff’s office May 19 and arrived on the accident scene at about 1 a.m.

The Weather Network