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State Supreme Court upholds conviction of woman sentenced in Lake County fatal accident

The state Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a Sioux Falls woman in connection with a 2018 fatal Lake County accident. 51-year-old Natalie Angle was found guilty and sentenced in Lake County Circuit Court in the fall of 2019 on vehicular homicide and DUI charges.  The charges stemmed from an accident west of Madison in December of 2018 in which 69-year-old James Birgen of Madison was killed. 

Angle appealed her convictions to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the circuit court erred when it denied her motion to suppress statements to law enforcement following the accident.  She also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support her convictions.  

Angle had wanted her statement to a Lake County Deputy at the Madison hospital suppressed because she argued that she was not properly advised of her Miranda rights.  The circuit court denied Angle’s motion to suppress.  In a Supreme Court opinion filed last week, justices concluded that the circuit court erred by denying Angle’s suppression motion, but said that the Deputy’s failure to advise her that she had the right to appointed counsel before questioning her at the hospital was harmless, giving the overwhelming evidence against her.  

Also in it’s opinion, the Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court did not err when it denied Angle’s motion for acquittal, finding sufficient evidence to sustain her convictions for vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. 

Angle was sentenced to serve fifteen years in the state penitentiary, with two suspended, on the vehicular homicide charge and jail time on the DUI charge, along with the payment of fines, costs and restitution.  

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