A Twin Cities motorist was high when he tried pass other vehicles on a southern Minnesota highway and caused a collision that killed a driver heading the other way, according to charges.
Steven P. Hess, 36, of Chaska, was charged in Nicollet County District Court last week with criminal vehicular homicide and driving while under the influence in connection with the crash on Jan. 21 along Hwy. 14 in Courtland Township, roughly 20 miles northwest of Mankato, that killed 23-year-old Aaron G. Lloyd, of Nicollet.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension determined through a blood test that Hess had amphetamines and methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash, according to the charges.
Hess was charged by warrant and was not immediately available Tuesday to respond to the allegations. A woman who answered the phone at his home did not comment.
According to the complaint:
Several other drivers on the two-lane highway told authorities that Hess was attempting to pass other eastbound vehicles ahead of him on the two-lane highway before hitting the oncoming car. Hess was hospitalized with noncritical injuries.
While at the hospital, a State Patrol sergeant interviewed a groggy Hess and noted that his eyes were watery and droopy. He said that he was eating “when he saw a big flash,” the complaint read.
Hess acknowledged using methamphetamine, but that was three days earlier, and “had not recently slept,” the charges continued.
Court records show that Hess has been convicted at least four times for driving with a suspended license. At the time of the crash, his license was valid, a state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said Tuesday. Hess also has a felony drug possession conviction on his record.
Lloyd graduated from Nicollet High School in 2015, according to his online obituary. He then earned an associate degree from South Central Technical College. At the time of his death, he was continuing his education in business and had been working at a day care, the obituary added.