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Autopsy shows alcohol in accident victim’s system

BEMIDJI – Investigators have determined the pedestrian victim of a fatal traffic accident Saturday had consumed alcohol, according to a news release from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office.

Tyler Cummings, 21, was apparently lying in the roadway when he was struck by a car near Balsam Road on Irvine Avenue Northwest in Bemidji at about 3 a.m. Saturday. The car was driven by Samantha Pender, 19, of Bemidji.

Preliminary autopsy results on Cummings indicate his blood alcohol level was 0.161 percent. Additional toxicology tests are being conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Investigators learned that Cummings had been at a tavern in Bemidji with friends. The friends decided to leave and called for a taxi, inviting him to leave with them. He chose to stay behind and remained at the bar until 12:58 a.m., when he left alone.

Pender was returning home from her job after picking up her child at the babysitter’s house when the accident occurred. A witness traveling in the opposite direction said Pender swerved to avoid hitting Cummings, which is also confirmed by the skid marks on the road.

Pender had not been drinking, and no charges are anticipated.

She and the passengers of the vehicle remained at the scene until officers arrived.

Cummings was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the press release.

A Minnesota State Trooper responded to the scene to assist deputies with the reconstruction of the accident. It was determined that Cummings had apparently been lying in the roadway when the vehicle struck him.

Bemidji Police officers, the Bemidji Fire Department and Bemidji Ambulance Service Personnel assisted at the scene. The case was investigated by the Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol and Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.