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Duluth driver pleads guilty in fatal crash

A Duluth motorist will pay a fine and serve a year of unsupervised probation for a crash that killed a well-known Iron Range businessman.

Alex William Day, 20, pleaded guilty in State District Court to a misdemeanor charge of crossing the centerline in the collision that killed 68-year-old Charles Frank Zupancich on May 29, 2017.

Authorities said Day’s 2000 Toyota Celica crossed the line on Rice Lake Road near Technology Drive, colliding head-on with Zupancich’s 2011 Ford Focus on Memorial Day afternoon.

Zupancich, who retired after a long career operating Zup’s Food Market in Aurora, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the cause of the crash was unclear. Tests did not reveal the presence of any alcohol or controlled substances in either driver's system, and there was no indication of any medical condition playing a role.

Authorities said weather, road conditions and visibility also did not appear to be factors, and there was no evidence of excessive speed. Additionally, an examination of Day's cellphone did not show any use at the time of the crash.

Judge Jill Eichenwald ordered Day to pay a $385 fine and stayed 30 days of jail time in favor of probation.