Wrong-Way Driver Pleads Guilty in Waite Park Fatal Crash [VIDEO]
ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud man has pleaded guilty in a wrong-way crash which killed two men in Waite Park this past summer.
Twenty-eight-year-old Charlie Barnett entered a Norgaard Plea in Stearns County District Court Thursday. A Norgaard Plea is where a defendant claims they were too drunk or under the influence of chemicals to recall the facts of what happened. Barnett pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
The crash happened on Division Street at around 7:15 p.m. on July 9th when the car Barnett was driving crossed over the median and hit an El Camino head-on killing the occupants, 61-year-old Richard Tomlinson of Grantsburg, Wisconsin and 77-year-old Roger Nelson of Clearwater.
Witnesses told investigators the Malibu Barnett was driving was traveling well above the speed limit in the westbound lane when he crossed the median, hit a street sign and then hit the El Camino head-on. The witnesses also say the driver made no attempt to slow down.
Court records show an aerosol can of dust cleaner was found on the driver's side floor of where Barnett had been sitting. Investigators learned later Barnett has a history of huffing dust cleaner and was seen a week earlier huffing the cleaner and falling over. Surveillance video from the Best Buy store showed Barnett buying two cans of the cleaner minutes before the crash.
Barnett will be sentenced January 17th.