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Charges: Friend died when man tried to drive across Kettle River in Minnesota

The 43-year-old Minnesota man tried to drive across the Kettle River.
Preston Prokasky

Preston Prokasky

A 43-year-old man is facing vehicular homicide charges after he allegedly intentionally drove his vehicle into a river in east-central Minnesota, killing a passenger. 

According to a criminal complaint, Preston P. Prokasky, of Willow River, was with two men on Sept. 16 when he decided to try and drive across the Kettle River around 3:45 p.m., in the area of 80124 River Run Road in Pine County.

A deputy dispatched to the scene arrived to find Prokasky and another man drenched near the bank of the river. There were tire tracks going through a sandy area leading to the river, but no vehicle was visible. 

Prokasky told investigators that he attempted to drive his 2004 Ford Escape across the river, claiming that he was unaware the water was too deep to cross in a vehicle. Once the car entered the river, it began to sink. 

Prokasky and a passenger in the back seat were able to escape through the driver's side window, but another passenger in the front seat didn't make it out. The victim has been identified as 47-year-old Eugene Oestreich, who was found dead inside the car that was submerged in approximately 14 feet of water. 

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Oestreich and the other passenger warned Prokasky not to try and cross the river, with Oestreich alerting them that he couldn't swim, according to the complaint. 

Prokasky admitted to using methamphetamine with the other men on the day of the incident. 

He has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, one count on the grounds of gross negligence and another count on the grounds of operating a vehicle while using a a controlled substance. 

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