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Jury trial set for December in Hastings fatal crash case

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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) – The trial of a Hastings man is now due to start almost a year after the fatal crash in December 2021 that left two people dead.

Anthony Pingel, 32, is charged in Adams County District Court with two counts of motor vehicle homicide, two misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, one misdemeanor driving under the influence and one count of contempt of court. Pingel was arrested after an accident on December 12 just east of Hastings in which two teenagers died.

At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Judge Morgan Farquhar scheduled Pingel’s trial to begin at 9 a.m. on Dec. 5 and continue until Dec. 16.

Pingel waived his right to a speedy trial and his bail was upheld.

The teenagers who died in the accident were Victoria Fleming, 16, of Superior and Tristen Owens, 18, of Hastings. The vehicle carrying the victims was engulfed in flames when paramedics arrived at the scene. The assault charges relate to the injuries sustained by two other passengers in the victim’s vehicle. An Adams County court official told Local4 the contempt of court charge related to Pingel’s alleged refusal to comply with a court-ordered blood test.

According to the arrest affidavit, when deputies arrived at the scene, they observed a silver Jeep, registered to Pingel, with extensive damage to the front end. Court records indicate that investigators observed that Pingel was under the influence of alcohol.

If convicted of motor vehicle homicide, Pingel could face up to 20 years in prison on each of the two counts, for a possible total of 40 years. The maximum penalties for misdemeanor convictions total just over two years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

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