Harvell pleads not guilty to crash charges

MARSHALL — The woman charged in connection with a June crash that injured three motorcyclists in Marshall has pleaded not guilty.

Tamara Lee Harvell, 55, appeared in Lyon County District Court Tuesday. Harvell entered not guilty pleas to four counts of felony criminal vehicular operation, two counts of gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation and driving while under the influence charges. A trial date was set for March 26. However, Judge Leland Bush said he was also scheduling a conference date in December, to see if Harvell’s case could reach a resolution before then.

Harvell was involved in a multi-vehicle crash that caused life-threatening injuries to motorcyclists near the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and East College Drive in Marshall in June. The Minnesota State Patrol reported that Harvell’s vehicle was northbound on Highway 23, when she crossed into the left turn lane, hitting three motorcycles stopped at the traffic light. All three motorcyclists were injured, two severely.

A criminal complaint alleges that Harvell had alcohol in her system at the time of the crash, and that two children were with her in the car.

Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled as an omnibus hearing, where the court decides whether there is probable cause to pursue criminal charges against a person. At the hearing, Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said he had received a toxicology report from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The report said Harvell had an alcohol level of .224, and had Ambien in her blood at the time of the crash, Maes said.

After reading the reports, Judge Bush said he found probable cause for the charges against Harvell.

Defense attorney Robert Gjorvad said Harvell would be entering pleas of not guilty on Tuesday, instead of at a separate hearing. Harvell planned to travel to Virginia and care for her ill husband, Gjorvad said.

The court set a trial date of March 26 for Harvell, with a pre-trial hearing on March 12. Bush said he would also set a conference date on Dec. 11, to see if a resolution could be reached in Harvell’s case before the March trial.