A 26-year-old SUV driver with a suspended license is suspected of being under the influence of drugs when he crossed into oncoming traffic and killed a motorist in a compact car, according to charges filed Monday.
Brandon D. Pedrys, of Elk River, was charged in Wright County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide, criminal vehicular operation and felony drug possession in connection with the death Friday of a driver who was struck head-on on County Road 39 near Page Avenue NE.
Sharon Veiman, 62, of Anoka, died at the scene, where four vehicles in all were caught up in the wreckage, the Sheriff's Office said.
Pedrys remained jailed in lieu of $200,000 bail. Court records do not yet list an attorney for him.
Deputies recovered from Pedrys' SUV a small container with three pills determined to be oxycodone and a crystal substance, which tested positive for methamphetamine.
The discovery of the powerful drugs and Pedrys' actions behind the wheel prompted authorities to collect a blood sample from Pedrys to test for narcotics. Results of those tests are pending.
Pedrys spoke with a staff member of the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office soon after the crash and told her "he was having trouble with life and couldn't catch a break," the criminal complaint read.
In less than eight years, Pedrys has been convicted twice for drunken driving, once for drinking and driving under age 21, twice for underage drinking and once for drug possession.
Along with not having a valid license, Pedrys also was driving without insurance at the time of the crash, the complaint noted. Monday's charges include misdemeanor counts covering those offenses.
According to the charges:
Pedrys was heading east on County Road 39 about 8:20 a.m., when he veered into the opposite lane, sideswiped one vehicle and hit Veiman's Ford Focus, which then banged into a trailing vehicle.
A 13-year-old girl in the trailing vehicle was hospitalized with noncritical injuries.
Pedrys told a sheriff's deputy at the scene that he was driving from Monticello to his parents' home in Elk River, when "he noticed cars slowing down but cannot remember anything after that," the complaint read.
Shortly before the crash in Monticello, a motorist told authorities that she saw Pedrys' SUV driving erratically and speeding on County Road 39.