Charges: Driver in fatal Champlin crash knew he was drunk

  • Article by: SARAH LEMAGIE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 16, 2009 - 11:56 PM

Christopher Mark Beussman faces felony counts in the weekend hit-and-run death of a Champlin woman.

The driver who allegedly hit and killed a Champlin woman in a crosswalk over the weekend now faces felony charges for his role in the hit-and-run.

Christopher Mark Beussman told police he knew he was drunk when he got behind the wheel of the vehicle that allegedly killed the 44-year-old mother of two, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court.

Beussman, 34, whom court records say lives in Edina, was charged with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

The victim, Heather Lyn Solberg, was with a group of people crossing Hwy. 169 at Hayden Lake Road in Champlin around 12:25 a.m. Sunday, two hours after the city's Father Hennepin Festival fireworks display. A witness told police that she was hit by a fast-moving white vehicle that may have run a red light.

When police found Solberg, she was lying on her stomach in the highway. Her head was bleeding, her right leg was bent the wrong way and she appeared to have broken bones in her arms and legs. She died on the way to the hospital.

The vehicle drove on, but a witness called 911 and followed it, according to the criminal complaint filed against Beussman.

The witness, who was not named in the complaint, said the vehicle turned in to a residential neighborhood and sped up in an apparent attempt to elude him. The witness lost sight of the car for a moment, then found it on the side of the road just as the passenger-side door was closing. He approached and found a woman in the driver's seat. She sped off again after he told her they needed to return to the scene of the accident.

When Osseo and Maple Grove police stopped the vehicle about 12:45 a.m., the driver's seat held Ashley Marie Whitney, 23, for whom court records list a Princeton address. But the complaint said Beussman told police he was the driver when Solberg was struck and had switched places with his passenger.

Police found blood on the car, which also showed damage on its windshield and front right side.

Whitney told police the pair was coming from a bar in Anoka, the complaint said.

Beussman and Whitney failed field sobriety tests and were given preliminary breath tests that showed blood-alcohol contents of more than twice the legal limit. Beussman recorded 0.175 percent and Whitney 0.195 percent.

Whitney was charged Tuesday with one felony count of aiding an offender and one count of fourth-degree drunken driving, a misdemeanor.

Whitney has been released, while Beussman remains in custody, according to the complaint.

Sarah Lemagie • 952-882-9016

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close