Bretschneider trial dismissed

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, July 21, 2005

By By NORMA LERNER / Edwardsburg Argus
CASSOPOLIS - Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz announced a trial scheduled Tuesday for Brian Bretschneider, 29, of Edwardsburg was dismissed in a plea agreement on Monday in connection with the death of Peter M. Strachan, 43, of Granger, Ind. on Nov. 2, 2004, in a traffic accident. Injured in the crash was Brian Matthew Smallbone, 37, of Dowagiac.
Bretschneider was charged with one count of negligent homicide and one count of felony driving, in the accident. Strachan was a passenger in a southbound pickup truck driven by Smallbone, according to the police report. Their vehicle collided with a front-end loader operated by Bretschneider on Conrad Road north of U.S. 12 one mile west of Edwardsburg.
Ftiz said Bretschneider pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property and to careless driving which is a one year misdemeanor and/or a $2,000 fine. On his original charges, he would have faced a two-year prison term.
Bretschneider will be sentenced before 4th District Judge Paul Deats in a hearing that has yet to be scheduled.
"This was a full agreement with both the victims' families. Both families were anxious to see the matter resolved and to go on with their lives," Fitz stated.
Reportedly, a third passenger in the rear seat of the pickup truck was a nine-year-old child who was taken to a South Bend hospital for treatment of his injuries.