No plea entered in rural Franklin manslaughter, vehicular homicide case

Case continues, may go to jury trial

RENVILLE COUNTY — A felony 2nd-degree felony manslaughter case involving a 38-year-old rural Franklin man continued in Renville County District Court Monday.

Russel A. Doucette, 62657 430th St., Franklin, also faces two counts of felony criminal vehicular homicide charges regarding the death of a man he allegedly drove over with a motor vehicle July 27, 2017. Doucette didn’t report the collision until the next night.

Doucette did not enter a plea, and a trial may be scheduled within the next few weeks.

According to court documents, Doucette and Randy Oletzke were at a farmhouse where Doucette lived when Doucette tried to drive way sometimes between dusk and midnight, while Oletzke was in front of his vehicle, trying to interfere with his ability to leave the area.

Doucette told investigators he tried to make a loop around the property to get on the driveway when Oletzke stood in front of his truck. Doucette said he drove one way, quickly backed up, felt the truck fishtail and lose traction and was “pretty sure” he ran over Oletzke.

In addition, Doucette said he left the farmhouse at speeds of 70-75 mph, went to a neighbor’s residence, consumed several mixed drinks and “felt like throwing up.”

The next night, Doucette contacted Renville County law enforcement and reported the collision happened about 24 hours earlier, and that he believed Oletzke was dead.

Officers responded to the scene, found Oletzke’s body and confirmed he was dead. The body was transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy was conducted. Dr. A. Quinn Strobl found that Oletzke’s skull was crushed, consistent with being run over by a motor vehicle.

Strobl opined that Oletzke would not have been able to move himself after being run over and that a broken right femur was possibly caused by motor vehicle impact.

Scene examination indicated Oletzke was moved after he died, so his head injury was positioned to line up with a pre-existing tire track from a mobile home. Oletzke’s clothing was pushed up in a manner suggesting he was moved after he died.

Renville County Attorney Glen Jacobsen said Doucette does not wish to plead the case yet, so a trial may be scheduled within the next few weeks. In the meantime, Jacobsen and Renville County Public Defender Erica Allex are continuing to move forward in the case.

Jacobsen said he will submit Doucette’s statement to law enforcement and the medical examiner’s report to the Court.

In addition, Jacobsen said in a trial, witnesses would be called to testify on what they saw at the scene.

“The State would agree there must have been an external force acting on the body after the death,” Jacobsen said.

Another court hearing will be set within the next few weeks, after Judge Randall Slieter rules on attorney’s motions. Trial dates are yet to be scheduled.

fbusch@nujournal.com

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