The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 7, 2014

New Ulm vet charged in fatal crash commits suicide

Liam Kelly had been charged with felonies over fatal crash

By Josh Moniz
jmoniz@mankatofreepress.com

---- — NEW ULM — A New Ulm veteran, who was facing multiple counts of criminal vehicular homicide, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 30 in Riverside Park in New Ulm.

Liam Kelly, 22, served in the Army National Guard from his junior year of high school until his Honorable Discharge from active duty on April 27, 2012. He served in Kuwait during Operation Enduring Freedom.

New Ulm police responded at 1:03 p.m. June 30 to a 911 hang-up call that originated in a portable bathroom at Riverside Park. Officers found him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and attempted CPR until the ambulance arrived. He was flown to a Twin Cities hospital but he died of his injuries.

Kelly was charged on June 27, just a few days prior to his death, with four felony counts of criminal vehicular operation, including for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He was also charged with gross misdemeanor driving without insurance and misdemeanor driving after revocation.

The charges stemmed from the Feb. 15 fatal vehicle accident. Kelly was driving a 2005 Mini Cooper on westbound Highway 14 after consuming alcohol with friends before losing control of vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.

The vehicle rolled multiple times after striking a snowbank before coming to a rest on the roof. The accident resulted in the death of his passenger Randyn Groebner, 27, of New Ulm and serious injury to his 27-year old brother Ryan Kelly, who was also in the vehicle.

Liam Kelly admitted to police that he had consumed as many as four beers prior to driving and had been traveling too fast. A preliminary breath test recorded him with a blood alcohol level of 0.117. An investigation determined he was traveling at 125 mph in a 45 mph zone at the time of the crash.

The charges were filed after an extensive investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol, which was turned over the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The investigation determined that no equipment failure, road design or visibility issues contributed to the crash.

A ceremony involving the release of dozens of balloons in the area near the North Seventh Street bridge was held Friday by Kelly's family and friends. His funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in New Ulm. He will be buried in the Soldier's Rest field in the New Ulm City Cemetery.