Case involving 2020 fatal crash will resume

Local News

After more than a year, the long wait is over for family members of a Blue Earth man killed in a fatal crash on Halloween in 2020.

On Aug. 21, Faribault County Attorney Cameron Davis filed paperwork in District Court to restart the criminal vehicular homicide case against 22-year-old Jeffrey Gordon Gunzenhauser of Winnebago.

According to court documents, “The Faribault County Attorney’s Office does hereby advise of its intent to resume prosecution upon a finding by the court that the defendant has regained competency.”

Judge Troy Timmerman suspended the case on Aug. 15, 2022, after results of two competency evaluations he ordered deemed Gunzenhauser mentally unable to proceed in his case.

Gunzenhauser faces felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation, and gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation.

The head-on crash occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 31, south of Winnebago on Highway 169 and killed 76-year-old Harold Elvin Renkly.

Gunzenhauser, who was 20 years old at the time, reportedly was drunk when he drove in the wrong lane and struck a minivan driven by Renkly.

A blood sample taken from Gunzenhauser, according to court documents, showed that he had an alcohol level of 0.10.

Gunzenhauser, Renkly and a passenger in his vehicle, Stanley R. Oppedal, 84, of Ames, Iowa, were all unconscious.

Renkly died at the scene and Oppedal was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Gunzenhauser suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital.

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