A pickup truck driver admitted having too much to drink and then fleeing after he ran over an Army veteran who was stopped along the interstate with a stalled vehicle, according to charges filed Friday.
Derek A. Sanders, 31, of Wyoming, Minn., was charged in Pine County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Trevor C. Langlois, 24, also of Wyoming.
Langlois died Sunday after he was hit June 17 while pulled over on an entrance ramp to southbound Interstate 35. Langlois was out of his car, and he was struck by Sanders' Ford F-150 pickup as it entered the interstate, the charges read.
"I had too many," Sanders told authorities once he was found many days later, according to the charges. However, the charging document continued, Sanders said he didn't realize at the time that he hit a person.
Langlois was a husband and the father of a 2-year-old boy.
According to the complaint:
Chaz L. Paulson, 24, of White Bear Lake, was test-driving a truck that Langlois had just bought in Hinckley, and Langlois was following southbound in a sedan.
The pickup began having trouble, prompting the friends to pull over out of traffic. Langlois was struck as he walked up to the driver's side of the pickup. The vehicle that hit Langlois stopped briefly on the shoulder and then kept going.
Thanks to identifying debris from the scene, law enforcement released information to the public saying it was looking for a Ford F-150, model year 2010 or newer and with right-front damage.
On Monday, a woman told police in Bloomington that she saw a pickup that fit that description at the U.S. Bank at 9633 Lyndale Avenue S. She also turned over the license plate number to police.
A State Patrol sergeant tracked the vehicle to the home of Sanders' parents in Wyoming and met with him. Sanders initially said he hit a tree but then said he ran into a truck.
Under further questioning, Sanders said he "was looking down or something" and heard a crunch sound but kept going.
It was then that Sanders said, "I had some drinks earlier in the night," specifically beer and mixed drinks at a bar in Pine City starting about 4:30 or 5 p.m. He said he left around 9 p.m.
Sanders added that he really wasn't sure how much he had had to drink: "Half a dozen or so … I don't know."
He added that he believes his drinking had something to do with the crash but denied knowing that he had hit a person.
Sanders was arrested Wednesday, nine days after Langlois was hit, and the damaged pickup was impounded. He remains jailed on three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.