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Published September 16, 2010, 08:19 AM

Driver who hit roller blader should not have been behind the wheel

Ogema, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A local teen remains in a coma after being hit by a car while he was rollerblading. His best friend narrowly escaped a similar fate. Turns out, the driver should not have been behind the wheel. 30-year old Ross Dodd has an extensive criminal record that includes four DWI-related convictions and nine charges of driving after his license was suspended.

Despite Dodd's driving history, Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon says in this case, alcohol was not a factor. He said the two boys were rollerblading in this direction when Dodd came up behind them. The two split and as you can see by the tire tracks, it appears Dodd tried to avoid them.

But it was too late for 16-year old Landon Hochstetler. He was hit and landed in the ditch. Hochstetler is in a coma at a Minneapolis hospital with a broken leg, fractured skull and possibly blood in his brain, according to his Caring Bridge site.

Sherman: “I've never seen anything like it before, especially not your best friend.”

16-year old Sherman Eberle was with him, helping his best friend get in shape for hockey. He missed injury by just inches.

Sherman: ”I don't know how it didn't hit us both.”

But still hurts. He says the two of them normally do everything together, but this fight for life, Hochstetler must go at alone.

Sherman: “I hope he's okay, I dunno, a lot of things change fast.”

So what about Dodd?

Gordon: “Bottom line, he should not have been in a car he should not have been driving.”

He's in jail for driving without a license and violating his parole.

Gordon: “The state deemed him an imitable threat to public safety.”

Dodd lives just half a mile from Hochstetler and Gordon says the two knew each other. Dodd declined our request for an interview.

Gordon: “He's distraught. He may be a bad driver, but he still has feelings.”

Dodd may face criminal charges depending on what comes out of the investigation of this accident, which is still ongoing. Gordon does not believe alcohol or speed were factors in this accident. It was around dusk when the accident happened.

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