Family of beloved pastor killed by drunk driver forgives and hugs him at sentencing

However, nobody saw what was going to happen to next.

Judge Eric Schieferdecker said it was something he had never seen before.

County Attorney Katy Lorsbach was in tears.

It was a message that caught the courtroom by surprise, starting with the congregation at First Baptist Church in Clearbrook where Verlyn Strenge had been the pastor for 25 years, as well as a pillar in the community.

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“We have been forgiven so much, how could we not forgive you,” said church member Rick Moore.

Strenge’s daughter Jayme Nelson provided a very similar message.

“We forgive you Mr. Nelson, as hard as it was at first, we want you to know that we have been praying for you for the past year, because we know your life has been impacted by the biggest mistake of your life,” she said.

The 69-year-old was killed last year when his Jeep Cherokee was rear-ended by Nelson’s out of control pickup at the intersection of Highways 2 and 92 in downtown Bagley.

Strenge’s 66-year-old wife was seriously hurt. ‘

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