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Case of teen driver in fatal crash is in attorney's hands

The case of a 17-year-old Christian Life School student involved in a Dec. 11 crash that killed three members of the same family is in the hands of the Dakota County Attorney's office.

Lakeville police chief Tom Vonhoff said his department has completed the bulk its investigation into the accident, which killed Debra Buhmann, Shirley Iverson and Alexis Iverson-Ferkul.

Police are still waiting for the results of some blood tests, but Vonhoff said he does not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. They sent the information they had to the county attorney early last week.

Vonhoff did not say what charge he thought might be warranted.

"At this point we just wait and see what the Dakota County Attorney's office believes the appropriate charge is," Vonhoff said.

According to police reports the driver, who has not been identified, was eastbound on Highway 50 in Lakeville when the pick-up truck he was driving crossed the centerline and hit the car driven by Buhmann, 34. Iverson, 71, was Buhmann's mother and Iverson-Ferkul, 8, was her niece. Witnesses told police the 17-year-old's lights were not on at the time of the accident.

Vonhoff said it had not been determined whether the teen driver was distracted by anything.

Buhmann, Iverson and Iverson-Ferkul were all members of Farmington Lutheran Church. Buhmann taught a Sunday school class for third- and fourth-grade students and her niece was one of her students.

"They were involved in many different ways," Maria Tarpinian, director of children's ministries at the church, said last month. "Someone ... made the comment that Shirley -- she was here sometimes before the ushers even. She would be the first one through the doors."

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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