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Larimore man accused in fatal drunk driving crash set to change plea

Paul Albert Lilja

LARIMORE, N.D.—A Larimore man accused of driving drunk and causing a crash last year that killed a motorcyclist plans to change his plea.

A Thursday hearing for Paul Albert Lilja, 44, was canceled, but court records show he is scheduled to appear June 11 for a change of plea hearing. He was charged Sept. 19 in Grand Forks District Court with a Class A felony of criminal vehicular homicide and a Class C felony of negligent homicide. He initially pleaded not guilty in the case.

Lilja was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk after being involved in a Sept. 18 crash about a half mile east of Larimore on County Road 4, according to a criminal complaint. He was driving east on the road when turned his 2005 Chevrolet Silverado left in front of a westbound 2017 Victory motorcycle, according to court documents. The two vehicles collided head-on, and the motorcyclist, Allen Miller of Petersburg, N.D., died at the scene.

Lilja was not injured in the crash. He could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248