This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).






State of Minnesota,





Wade Allen Bollin,



Filed ­­­August 15, 2000


Harten, Judge

Concurring specially, Randall, Judge


Meeker County District Court

File No. K4-98-867


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, John B. Galus, Assistant Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Michael J. Thompson, Meeker County Attorney, 325 Sibley Avenue North, Litchfield, MN 55355 (for respondent)


John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Marie L. Wolf, Assistant State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue SE, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


Appellant, convicted of violating the criminal vehicular homicide statute for negligent driving with controlled substances present in his blood, argues that the district court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of the effect of controlled substances on driving.  Because we see no abuse of discretion, we affirm.



Edward Lohse, driving a van in which his wife and 11-year-old granddaughter were passengers, was rear-ended by appellant Wade Bollin.  Appellant was injured; all three occupants of Lohse’s van were thrown from it, and the child died.  The weather was clear and sunny; appellant was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout and to remain attentive.

Appellant was taken to a hospital where a blood test revealed .06 milligram/liter of methamphetamine and .01 milligram/liter of amphetamine, both Schedule II controlled substances.  He was charged with criminal vehicular homicide, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 1(6) (1998) and criminal vehicular operation resulting in substantial bodily harm, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 2a(6) (1998).

            Prior to trial, the court granted the state’s motion to prohibit appellant from offering his own or others’ testimony as to the effects and amounts of the drugs found in his blood.  Appellant chose to have a bench trial on stipulated facts.  He was found guilty of criminal vehicular homicide and sentenced to 48 months.  He now challenges the exclusion of evidence on the amounts and effects of the controlled substances.



            Appellate courts largely defer to the trial court’s evidentiary rulings, which will not be overturned absent a clear abuse of discretion.  State v. Kelly, 435 N.W.2d 807, 813 (Minn. 1989). 

Appellant was charged with, convicted of, and sentenced for violating Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 1(6) (1998), which provides that a person is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide if he causes the death of a human being as a result of operating a motor vehicle “in a negligent manner while any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols, is present in the person’s body[.]”

Appellant sought to offer evidence on the effect of the controlled substances on his driving.  But such evidence is irrelevant to violations of Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 1(6).[1]  The language of subd. 1(6) was added to the statute in 1996; previously the statute provided only that those “under the influence” of a controlled substance committed criminal vehicular homicide.  See State v. Hegstrom, 543 N.W.2d 698 (Minn. App. 1996) (discussing the problematic evidentiary standard for “under the influence”), review denied (Minn. Apr. 16, 1996).  The legislature clearly intended to extend the statute to those with any amount of controlled substances in their blood, regardless of whether they were “under the influence” of the substance.         

Appellant also argues that evidence on the effects of controlled substances was relevant because it would have disproved negligence, an element of the crime. This argument misconstrues the statute.  Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 1(6), prohibits causing the death of another as a result of operating a motor vehicle negligently while any amount of a controlled substance is present, not because any amount of a controlled substance is present.  Appellant’s negligence, to which he stipulated, was independent of his use of controlled substances; he rear-ended a vehicle on a clear, dry, straight road, in daylight.  Nor was the state relying on the presence of controlled substances to prove negligence; it moved to exclude evidence on their effect.  Appellant’s argument that evidence on the effect of controlled substances was relevant to the negligence element of his crime is unpersuasive.

            The district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding evidence on the effects of the controlled substances present in appellant’s blood.



RANDALL, Judge (concurring specially)

            I concur in the result.


[1] We note that such evidence would be relevant to a defendant charged under Minn. Stat. § 609.21, subd. 1(2)(ii) (1998), prohibiting operating a vehicle in a negligent manner while under the influence of a controlled substance.