U student jailed, then released following deadly car accident

Kamariea Forcier

A University of Minnesota student was released from Dakota County jail on Tuesday, five days after being involved in a car crash in which another man was killed.
Minnesota highway patrol officers took Patrick Strohkirch, a College of Liberal Arts junior, into custody after the accident. Strohkirch’s attorney, Kevin Short, said the accident was the result of a series of illegal passing maneuvers on the part of Strohkirch and the victim.
Christopher Pfeifer, 23, was killed when he lost control of his car while trying to pass Strohkirch’s car on the left-hand shoulder of the highway.
The two men were driving south on Interstate 35E near Mendota Heights when the accident occurred at about 2:30 p.m. May 23.
Dakota County officials held Strohkirch during the holiday weekend while they searched for evidence should he be charged with a crime. No charges were filed as of Thursday in the incident.
Authorities released Strohkirch and await the results of a test to determine his blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident, Short said.
“When that test comes back it will show he was not drinking,” he said. “He was not under the influence of anything.”
Short also said that Strohkirch is not guilty of vehicular homicide.
“To be charged with (vehicular homicide), you need to have caused the accident,” and not just have been there, he said.
Short said Strohkirch’s car was the first to drive on the left shoulder of the freeway and Pfeifer was copying his maneuver when he crashed.
Strohkirch was unavailable for comment. Short said that Strohkirch “felt bad, but he’s not responsible for what happened.”