A 36-year-old man has been charged with being intoxicated when he eluded a sheriff's deputy in northeastern Minnesota, crashed his pickup truck and left his passenger to die in the road.
Rodney A. Ernest, 36, of Isabella, Minn., was charged in Cook County District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the wreck Saturday north of Tofte on a road west of Sawbill Trail.
The passenger was first spotted in the road about 6 a.m. by a deer hunter and later identified as 55-year-old William J. Evans of Litchfield, Minn.
A message was left with Ernest's attorney Thursday seeking a response to the allegations.
According to the criminal complaint:
A sheriff's deputy arrived at the scene and saw Evans' body on the ground and the unoccupied pickup in the ditch. It appeared that the truck went out of control, then airborne, before hitting a tree.
In a statement to law enforcement later in the morning, Ernest admitted to leaving the crash scene after trying to revive his friend.
Ernest first said he had two beers at a friend's home before the crash. After being told that a sheriff's deputy in Lake County had tried to pull him over, he added that he went to a bar in Silver Bay after leaving his friend's house.
He said he "outran the cops" when he saw a squad car with its emergency lights on and crossed from Lake County into Cook County, then crashed.
Ernest showed signs of intoxication, including bloodshot and watery eyes. He was arrested and subjected to a blood test for alcohol. Results are pending.