Lake Andes, SD
The man accused of driving drunk and hitting and killing two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees in Pickstown in July of 2013 is standing trial.
Ron Fischer Junior, 30, faces manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges in the deaths of 25-year-old Maegan Spindler and 46-year-old Rob Klumb.
Klumb and Spindler were just wrapping up a day of research on the Missouri River when they were struck and killed by Fischer. Officers believe Fischer drove through a stop sign and hit them in the parking lot of the Dakota Inn hotel.
Blood tests showed Fischer had marijuana in his system and was driving at three times the legal limit for alcohol.
"We felt it was important for the judge to see us and to understand the anguish over Maegan's death," Maegan Spindler's father, Gregg Spindler, said.
Spindler's family flew in from New York State to listen to testimony in the case.
According to testimony Monday, Klumb's legs were amputated when he was hit by Fischer's van. Spindler was hit so hard some of her clothing was torn off of her.
"The shock has worn off but the grief is going to be with us life long. People talk about closure. I don't think there's closure for something like this," Spindler said.
Gregg and Susan Spindler - who are professional statisticians - say DUI crashes and deaths in South Dakota began to decline in 2002 but then flat lined from 2007 on.
View Spindler Website On South Dakota DUI Trends
Spindler has spoken with Governor Dennis Daugaard about his findings, but says the governor hasn’t addressed the concerns.
"He's content with the flat lining of it. He should answer to the people of South Dakota why this flat lining is occurring," Spindler said.
Previous Story: Father Who Lost Daughter Details DUI Changes
And as Ron Fischer Junior stands trial, two families continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones.
"The wounds heal,” Spindler said. “The wounds can heal and through our faith and so on we're seeking healing but it will always be with us. Our faith and Maegan's spirit lives on.”
The Spindlers hope a verdict in the case will ultimately send a message to the public about the serious consequences for driving drunk.
The trial is expected to last through Tuesday. There is no jury so Judge Bruce Anderson will issue a verdict.
In an email to KELOLAND News Monday afternoon, Daugaard's office said the criminal justice legislation that passed in 2012 included DUI reforms more stringent than other states and added that the governor hopes the trial will bring justice to both families who have suffered from this tragic loss.