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Vehicular Homicide Suspect Appears In Court

October 4, 2011, 5:16 PM by David Brown

Vehicular Homicide Suspect Appears In Court
James Harris

DE SMET, SD - The driver accused of a deadly hit-and-run crash appeared before a judge Tuesday.

28-year-old James Harris of Anoka, Minnesota, is charged with DUI, hit-and-run, and vehicular homicide in the death of 16-year-old De Smet High School student Zach Eichstadt.

Judge Tim Tucker kept Harris' bond at $250,000.  The defense wanted it lowered, but the prosecution pointed to Harris' outstanding warrant in Minnesota for failing to notify his probation officer of his move to South Dakota.  The Kingsbury County Sheriff says even though it's been ten days since the accident, the town of De Smet is still reacting to the loss.

Harris didn't really want to be seen as he entered the Kingsbury County Courthouse Tuesday morning.
On September 23, Harris is accused of running a stop sign at the corner of 1st Street and Calumet Avenue and hitting and killing 16-year-old Zach Eichstadt.

"It's a terrible thing," Kingsbury County Sheriff Kevin Scotting said. "It's shock and, you know, just a terrible thing."

Scotting says over the past week, the town of De Smet has rallied around Eichstadt, providing a memorial for a boy who loved to skateboard.

"You see a lot of people in a small community like this, they all do band together and support the family."

Scotting says one of the most frustrating elements is the street corner where Eichstadt was struck isn't considered a particularly dangerous intersection.

"To my knowledge, I guess, in the years I've been here, there's never been anything at that corner in that area there," Scotting said.

Considering the fact that Scotting says he's never seen a situation like this before, the anger from the community is understandable.

"There is outrage," Scotting said. "I mean, unfortunately, we are a small community and it shocks the whole community."

And while Scotting couldn't comment specifically on the ongoing case against Harris, he is confident of one thing.

"Justice will be served," Scotting said.

Harris' next scheduled court appearance is Friday, October 7 at 1 p.m.

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