Charges filed Tuesday against an unlicensed motorist on probation allege that he was drunk when he backed his SUV over his 1½-year-old niece in a residential driveway near Walker, Minn., and then sped away as onlookers screamed at him.
Anthony J. Goose, 28, of rural Walker was charged in Cass County District Court with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the hit-and-run death of Vivian "Vivi" Staples late Sunday afternoon outside the family's home on Breezy Point Circle in Shingobee Township.
He also was charged with a misdemeanor for having a revoked license at the time of the crash.
Goose appeared in court Tuesday and remains jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail. Court records do not list an attorney for him. According to the criminal complaint:
Goose came to the family's home to work on his Chevy Tahoe's brakes. As he was leaving, Goose hit Vivian with the back of his vehicle, rolled over her with his left rear tire and then struck garbage at the end of the driveway.
One witness said that Goose "appeared to have realized what he had done and drove off at a high rate of speed," the charges read. Two other people who saw what happened said they yelled at Goose and ran out into the street in hopes of getting him to stop.
A neighbor's video surveillance recorded the incident. Fresh damage to the SUV's rear bumper can be seen before Goose speeds away as Vivian's stepfather runs to the girl in the driveway while two other stepdaughters, ages 9 and 11, scream.
Goose soon returned to the neighborhood and was arrested by a sheriff's deputy. Goose smelled of alcohol and failed roadside sobriety tests. A preliminary breath test measured his blood alcohol content at 0.123%, above the legal limit for driving in Minnesota. He admitted that he had been drinking peppermint Schnapps that day.
Another court document filed by the Sheriff's Office said that Goose denied running over his niece and "stated it could have been a different white Tahoe in the area, and there are two others" who should be considered suspects. Goose was cited on March 12 for careless driving in Bemidji and jailed on March 25. He hit another vehicle while in a fast-food restaurant parking lot and drove off.
He was sentenced to 45 days in jail by Beltrami District Judge John Melbye. The judge stayed 27 days of the term, allowing Goose to be released on April 13 rather than on May 9.
Goose's driving history also includes an arrest in December in nearby Laporte. A breath test measured his blood alcohol content at 0.16%.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482