Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Epileptic driver charged with manslaughter in Moorhead crash that killed 2-year-old

Firefighters clean up debris Saturday, Jan. 6, from an accident involving at least four cars in Moorhead, Minnesota. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service1 / 2
Zaiden David Engen Ness2 / 2

MOORHEAD, Minn.—A Sabin, Minnesota, man, who authorities say was driving despite having his Minnesota driver's license cancelled, has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter in the death of a 2-year-old boy in a Jan. 6 crash, according to Clay County District Court documents.

Jeremy James Sagvold, 42, was charged Friday, March 2. The two felony charges each carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, court documents said.

The boy, Zaiden David Engen Ness, died Jan. 6 at Fargo's Sanford Medical Center as a result of the injuries he suffered in the crash, Moorhead police said.

Zaiden was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his father, Logan William Ness, 24, of Moorhead. His mother, Alyse Ann Engen, 22, of Breckenridge, Minnesota, was a passenger.

A full-size Ford F-150 pickup driven by Sagvold crashed into the rear of the Ford Escape driven by Ness about 12:05 p.m. in the eastbound U.S. Highway 10 left-turn lane for 34th Street, police said. Sagvold, Ness and Alyse Engen had no injuries that required hospital treatment.

Sagvold told police in an interview that day that he did not have a memory of the crash, court documents said. He told police that "I just remember a bang, and then a second bang."

Asked if he could have lost consciousness, Sagvold answered, "I have epilepsy, so I don't know if something happened," according to court documents.

A crash reconstruction by the Minnesota State Patrol determined that Sagvold's truck crashed into Ness' vehicle at a speed of 61 to 67 mph. The speed limit in the area is 45 mph. Data could not be retrieved from the data recorder in Sagvold's pickup, court documents said.

A review of Sagvold's medical history found he was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2009. Because of seizures, state records show that he had his driving privileges suspended for a time in early 2016, court documents said. Because Sagvold failed to have a one-year review examination and get a satisfactory physical exam report, his Minnesota driving privileges were canceled on Dec. 22, 2017, court documents said.

Attempts to reach Sagvold by phone were unsuccessful Friday. Court records did not list an attorney for him. His first court appearance is set for March 27.

Two other vehicles also were involved in the crash, though the names of the drivers and passengers and how they were involved in the crash were not released. Police said the drivers and passengers in those vehicles had no injuries that required hospital treatment.

An autopsy determined that Zaiden had suffered multiple traumatic injuries, including skull fractures and injuries to his brain, according to court documents.

Sagvold didn't show signs of impairment during field sobriety testing after the crash, and he turned over his cellphone to investigators for examination, court documents said.

In 2006, Sagvold pleaded guilty to a DWI-related charge in Clay County, according to Minnesota court records. In 2016, he was cited for following too close in Cass County, North Dakota, court records show.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

(701) 241-5583
Advertisement
randomness