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Klemme man charged with vehicular homicide in Wisconsin

BALSAM LAKE, WISCONSIN — A Klemme man has been charged with vehicular homicide in Wisconsin after a crash that killed a woman.

The Polk County Wisconsin Sheriff’s Department says 47-year-old Michael Barkema was driving a truck that was hauling a large trailer and was involved in an accident Sunday evening on County Truck Highway M just north of the Saint Croix and Polk County line, northeast of the Twin Cities metro area. Barkema is accused of turning in front of another vehicle, with a woman in the other vehicle being killed.

Court documents say a responding officer said he could smell intoxicants on Barkema’s breath, said his speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot and glossy. When he was asked if he had anything to drink, Barkema allegedly responded that he had only one beer. Authorities say Barkema failed field sobriety tests and that a preliminary breathalyzer showed his blood alcohol content was at 0.28, three-and-a-half times above the legal limit.

Barkema has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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