The 17-year-old driver who crashed into a tree earlier this month in Woodbury, splitting the vehicle in half and killing one of four passengers, is likely to face criminal charges, authorities say.
The Woodbury Police Department is unable to release the name of the driver "since there are probable criminal charges coming," police Cmdr. John Altman said in an e-mail this week.
Car registration data show the Honda Accord that crashed on Settlers Ridge Parkway around 11 p.m. on March 13 belongs to Scott and Karen Hollister of Woodbury.
Garrett Bumgarner was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. His obituary states that he was 18 years old, which conflicts with initial information provided by Woodbury authorities that all five teens involved in the crash were juveniles.
Altman confirmed that the three surviving passengers — Connor Bro, Jack Mears and Andrew McKevitt — and the driver are all 17.
Bumgarner is described in his obituary as a "selfless son, compassionate brother and most loyal of friends" and an "incredible teammate" with an infectious personality. He is survived by his parents, Anthony and Kim Bumgarner, sister Ava and many friends and relatives.
A funeral service was held March 19.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in an interview Wednesday that his office can't file charges until a crash investigation is complete. The Minnesota State Patrol is reconstructing the crash, which Orput said "takes a great deal of time, months."
"Right now we don't believe drugs or alcohol were involved, as far as right now. We're awaiting toxicology," he said, adding that charges would likely be related to driving conduct.
"When we find out what happened, we need to apply it to the gross negligence standard, which can be difficult," Orput said.
The site of the fatal crash at the intersection of Settlers Ridge Parkway and Sundance Way is known as a "roller coaster road," he said, because kids are known to "go flying" where there is a dip in the road. He said several similar roadways in Woodbury were regraded in the past.
Community members are petitioning to turn that section of the parkway into a roundabout because it "is an area where teenagers love to drive fast and 'get air' off a dip in the road," according to the online petition, which had nearly 4,000 signatures Wednesday.
Orput said his office is working closely with Woodbury police, and while some people have cooperated in the investigation, others haven't.
"I think families are just in shock now," he said.
Altman said with the level of passengers' injuries, detectives haven't yet interviewed them as witnesses.
Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751