Kyle Kissinger was trying to keep his drunken friend from driving but was dragged as the friend sped off, charges say. His recovery is uncertain.
Several people tried to stop a stumbling-drunk Jason L. Schultz from jumping in his pickup truck and driving away from the Commercial Club in West St. Paul the night he dragged Kyle Kissinger for two blocks, causing a traumatic brain injury, according to court documents.
Schultz, 24, was arrested at his home in West St. Paul shortly after the incident in the early morning hours Friday. He was charged Wednesday with criminal vehicular operation, a felony, and third-degree drunken driving, a gross misdemeanor. He paid $75,000 bail and must appear in Dakota County District Court on Feb. 27.
"It is a tragedy to see a person trying to do the right thing and prevent his friend from driving while intoxicated injured so severely," said County Attorney Jim Backstrom. "We hope the victim is able to fully recover from his serious injuries."
According to the criminal complaint:
West St. Paul police found Kissinger, semi-conscious, about two blocks from the bar on S. Robert Street.
A witness told police that he was at the bar with Kissinger and other people, including Schultz. The witness said Schultz drove a red pickup truck with a topper and lived nearby. The witness and his girlfriend, Schultz's girlfriend, Kissinger and others tried to take Schultz's keys from him because he was drunk. But he became angry, started pushing and shoving and managed to get in his truck, the complaint said.
Kissinger reached into the truck and tried to get the keys out of the ignition, but Schultz stepped on the gas and squealed out of the parking lot, dragging Kissinger with him, the complaint said. Schultz then braked suddenly, flinging Kissinger into the side of the truck.
The witness ran after Schultz to try to help Kissinger, but Schultz drove away again with Kissinger still hanging on.
When officers showed up at Schultz's home in the 100 block of E. Mainzer Street, his mother was waiting for them. She led police to her son's bedroom, where he was lying in bed. He was arrested and taken to police headquarters. The complaint said a blood sample was taken about 4 a.m. to be tested for alcohol content but does list the results.
The witness's girlfriend told police that "Schultz was falling over and stumbling and was in no condition to drive," the complaint said.
Schultz's girlfriend said she has seen Schultz get drunk before and on that night, he was an "8" on a scale of 1-10. When he is drunk, she said, he "gets really angry and doesn't listen to anyone."
Kissinger suffered a traumatic brain injury with bleeding in the brain, a broken nose, a head laceration and many lacerations and contusions from road rash. The complaint said an investigator talked to him briefly and he is "currently unable to remember the events of the incident." A spokeswoman for Regions Hospital said Wednesday that Kissinger has been upgraded to fair condition.
Schultz is on probation from a drunken driving conviction in July 2010 in Pine County. That incident happened in February 2009. He was given a 15-day jail sentence and two years' probation.
No one answered the phone at Schultz's home Wednesday afternoon.
Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284