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February 05, 2015 05:41 PM

Vehicular Homicide Verdict Handed Down In Pickstown Crash

Lake Andes, SD

A Lake Andes judge has found Ron Fischer Jr. guilty of driving drunk and hitting and killing two US Fish and Wildlife researchers in Pickstown more than 18 months ago.

Maegan Spindler, 25, and 46-year-old Rob Klumb were standing in the parking lot of a Pickstown hotel after work on July 8, 2013, when a drunk and high Fischer hit them with his minivan.

"Losing a family member in such a way like this, I don't believe there's ever closure so to speak," Maegan Spindler's father Gregg Spindler said Thursday.

Maegan Spindler had just arrived in South Dakota in the summer of 2013 to conduct research on the Missouri River with aspirations of pursuing a graduate degree at South Dakota State University.

"Had she not been killed, she'd be in a masters or PhD program up in Brookings," Spindler said.

Maegan Spindler was standing in the parking lot of the Dakota Inn in Pickstown talking with Klumb when Fischer blew through a stop sign and drove into the parking lot and hit and killed both Spindler and Klumb. Fischer was high on marijuana and driving drunk at nearly three times the legal limit.

Previous Story: Parents Express Anguish As Ron Fischer Jr. Trial Begins

In a verdict released Thursday, Judge Bruce Anderson found Fischer guilty of two counts of vehicular homicide. He was found not guilty of the first and second degree manslaughter charges he faced for the crime.

"To have it have ended in such a way is nothing but heartbreak and unfortunately the verdict is one of a number of disappointments that have happened since July 8, 2013," Spindler said.

Still, Spindler hopes as the case nears a close it will help bring some healing for all the families involved.

"With each one of the turns in the case, it's like picking scabs; there's no healing. So, getting the criminal matter behind us, after the sentencing in March, will give us a measure of peace," Spindler said.

Fisher was also found guilty of misdemeanor DUI, marijuana possession and ingesting. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. He'll be sentenced on March 23.

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