Archived Story

Man jailed for vehicular homicide near Clitherall

Published 10:59am Tuesday, September 11, 2012 Updated 10:53am Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A 24-year-old Parkers Prairie man will spend at least four and a third years in prison after he was recently convicted in Otter Tail County court for criminal vehicular homicide near Clitherall.

Robin Joseph Turchin also faces fines, fees and restitution of more than $21,800 for his crime, committed May 8, 2011.

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. that day, law enforcement was called to a one-truck accident near the intersection of Liberty Road and Liberty Lane in the Clitherall area, court records state. When a deputy arrived, the truck’s passenger, Justin Hemmerlin, also 24 and of Parkers Prairie, was dead, and driver Turchin was crying in an ambulance.

Professing to not have clear memories of some of the circumstances surrounding the accident, Turchin said he was unable to navigate a curve and blacked out following a crash off the left side of the road. He admitted to having some drinks in the Ottertail area the previous evening, and a blood test put his blood alcohol content at .11.

  • parkers4

    Sentenced to 78 months which is 6.5 years.

    • Ryan Howard

      I’m not trying to be pedantic, Judy, but commissioner of corrections sentences in Minnesota consist of a minimum of two thirds of the sentence in jail, followed by a parole/probation period for the last third. Thus, under his 78-month sentence, Turchin will spend at least four and one third years in jail.

      If he doesn’t do anything bad while in prison, he may be let out at that time and kept on supervised release for the remainder of his sentence. If, however, he does something else bad while in prison, he could serve out the rest of his time in prison.

  • hesa0703

    Sentenced: 3. Criminal Vehicular Homicide or Operation – Alcohol Concentration .08 or More W/in 2 Hrs Driving
    05/08/2011 (FEL) 609.21.1(4) (6092114)
    Commit to Commissioner of Corrections – Adult
    MN Correctional Facility – St. Cloud 78 Months
    Report on 08/31/2012
    Comment: Execution forthwith.
    One can not say he will or will not spend 78 months in prison. Yes, the 2/3 in, 1/3 out is true but he was not sentenced to 4 years and one third he was sentenced to 78 months.

    • Ryan Howard

      I realize that his total sentence is 78 months, but that will likely not all be spent in prison. Minnesota’s sentencing requirements on this are rather odd.

      We’ve struggled with how to report this in a manner that is accurate and that most people will understand. For example, a level three sex offender returned to Fergus Falls last year, and during the informational meeting, a number of people brought up an old Journal article that made it appear like the man should still have more time in prison. The article (written by a reporter who no longer is here) was correct in the overall sentencing length, but it was ultimately misleading to people who thought the man would be in prison for longer than he was.

      You’re right; we can’t say exactly how long Turchin will be in prison, but we do know that he was sent there for at least four and one third years, per Minnesota’s sentencing requirements. That’s why we wrote the story the way we did, to allow the possibility of more time in prison if he ends up receiving it.

      I have, however, changed the wording of the opening paragraph to refer only to his prison stay and not his actual sentence.

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