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Update: Ellsworth man dies of injuries suffered Saturday; driver awaits charges

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news New Richmond, 54017
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New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

A 20-year-old Ellsworth man died Sunday at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, some 30 hours after he was thrown or fell from a car driven by an alleged drunk driver in the village at 2:42 a.m. Saturday.

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Nicholas Rhiel of Ellsworth was found unconscious early Saturday on the street in the area of Kruger Lane and Anika Court on the southeast side of town.

He was transported by ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital, then flown to Regions, where he later died.

Nicholas Rhiel graduated Ellsworth High School in 2012. Pierce County Herald file photo.

His father, Bob Rhiel, told KARE-TV, that Nick was pursuing a college degree in criminal justice. He was enrolled at Chippewa Valley Technical College in River Falls.

Ellsworth police identified the car's driver as Connor C. Johnson, 19, of W6314 690th Ave., Beldenville. He was arrested sometime after Rhiel was found. Jail records indicate he was booked in at 5:42 a.m.

Online court records indicate Johnson plead guilty to operating while intoxicated, first offense, in March, 2012, six months after he'd received the citation from a Pierce County sheriff's deputy.

Johnson remains in the Pierce County Jail awaiting charges.

Rhiel, who was in the pit crew for driver Dan Langer, was honored with a moment of silence at the Ellsworth Funsters Demolition Derby Saturday evening at the Pierce County Fair.

The accident is still under investigation.

Assisting police at the scene were Pierce County sheriff's deputies, the Wisconsin State Patrol and Ellsworth Area Fire Department.

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