Rob Ramage trial set to begin Monday

Retired NHL defenceman Rob Ramage pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from a fatal auto accident on Dec. 15, 2003.

Retired NHL defenceman Rob Ramage will stand trial Monday in Newmarket, Ont.

Ramage, 48, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges stemming from a fatal auto collision on Dec. 15, 2003.

Ramage underwent surgery for a dislocated hip after the rented Chrysler Intrepid he allegedly was driving veered into traffic and struck two vehicles near Vaughan, Ont., just north of Toronto.

Keith Magnuson, a passenger in the Intrepid, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Magnuson, a former defenceman who spent his entire 11-year pro career with the Chicago Blackhawks, was 56.

Michelle Pacheco, whose SUV collided with Ramage's vehicle, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, while both occupants of a third car involved in the crash were uninjured.

Ramage was charged with impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, two counts of dangerous driving causing death, and having a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit.

A York police report alleged that Ramage and Magnuson were headed to a players' alumni meeting after attending the funeral of former NHL forward and union executive Keith McCreary, who died of cancer at age 63 on Dec. 9, 2003.

Ramage posted 139 goals and 564 points with 2,224 penalty minutes in 1,044 NHL games after being drafted first overall by the Colorado Rockies in 1979.

The London, Ont., native played for the Rockies, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Minnesota North Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs, which he captained from 1989-91.

With files from the Canadian Press