GAYLORD — A distracted teen driver from St. James is now charged in a crash this fall that killed a Redwood Falls man.
Tashawn Ray Parker, 19, was charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide Thursday in Sibley County District Court. He also faces gross misdemeanor charges for criminal vehicular operation and reckless driving, as well as misdemeanors for other driving offenses.
Parker was in a Ford pickup pulling a trailer on County Road 9 near Gaylord on Sept. 11. He ran a stop sign at Highway 19 and struck an oncoming Dodge pickup, according to a court complaint.
Parker’s trailer detached and two pieces of machinery were ejected from the trailer as it went into a ditch.
One of the pieces of machinery struck the driver’s side of the Dodge pickup. Driver Merle Rueben Berreth, 69, died at the scene.
Parker and the passenger of the Dodge — Linda Marie Barreth, 69, of Redwood Falls — both were taken to the hospital in Arlington with non-life-threatening injuries.
Parker reportedly told investigators he did not see the stop sign because he was looking at a GPS app for directions. The app was on a computer tablet mounted in the pickup.
An accident reconstruction team from the State Patrol found that Parker was speeding and did not heed three warnings about the stop sign.
There were two sets of rumble warning strips at 1,200 and 700 feet away, as well as a “stop ahead” sign.
Skid marks indicate Parker did not realize there was an intersection until he was only 9 feet away, according to the reconstruction report.
Parker was going between 58 and 64 mph on the county road that has a speed limit of 55 mph, the charges said.
When the utility trailer was inspected, investigators determined the machinery had not been properly secured.