Triple Fatality Court Appearance 14 Mar 13

A judge has denied a change of venue request for the Cokato man accused of killing 3 people in a fiery head-on crash last year. 22-year-old Paul Wickenhauser faces 15 felony charges for the August crash near Willmar that killed a 68-year-old Atwater woman and her daughter-in-law and 8-year-old grandchild. A 5-year-old suffered serious injuries in the crash as well, but did survive. Authorities say Wickenhauser was driving a pickup truck on Highway 12 when he crossed the center line and struck the victims’ minivan, which caught on fire. Alcohol was allegedly involved. Wickenhauser’s defense attorney argued in court Tuesday that pretrial publicity on the case could taint a local jury pool, but the Kandiyohi County judge disagreed.