A Princeton man is facing criminal charges after two men were ejected out of the back of his pickup truck as they were leaving a July 4 party in Wyanett Township.
Clinton Daniel Christianson, 33, was charged before Judge Amy Brosnahan on Sept. 1 in Isanti County District Court in Cambridge with two felonies of criminal vehicular operation, causing great bodily harm and leaving the scene; and one gross misdemeanor count of criminal vehicular operation, causing great bodily harm and leaving the scene. Unconditional bail was set at $50,000 and conditional bail was set at $15,000. Christianson’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 17.
The charges stem from a personal injury crash on July 4 along the 6900 block of 327th Lane Northwest, Wyanett Township. It was reported that two men had fallen out of Christianson’s truck and were bleeding from their heads. It was later learned that Christianson, who was driving the truck, revved the engine and then did a burnout, accelerating at a high rate of speed on the roadway, as he was leaving the party to return to his residence.
According to the criminal complaint:
On July 4, at approximately 9:33 p.m., Isanti County Deputy Sheriff Corey Gerlach was dispatched to respond to the incident. Upon arrival, Gerlach noticed one man lying on the ground in the middle of a cul-de-sac with his wife by him. Gerlach observed the man go in and out of consciousness and he also appeared to be intoxicated and bleeding from his head.
An individual on the scene stated she was a nurse and that she saw the vehicle in question speed up and take off down the street, at which point two men fell out of the back of the vehicle. The nurse stated she lived next door and the neighbors were having a party. This is where the Christianson vehicle that had taken off down the street had come from.
Gerlach next spoke with the other man who had fallen out of the back of the truck. The man said they were going to a house down the road and that he fell out of the vehicle as it drove off. Gerlach noted the man appeared to be extremely intoxicated and that he was bleeding from his head and had visible scrapes on his shoulder and knees. He was coherent, speaking and breathing OK, and Gerlach advised him to stay and wait for ambulance personnel.
As Gerlach was trying to gather information, people began to scatter from the area. Gerlach then took pictures of the
cul-de-sac where the vehicle in question did an approximate 100-to-150-foot burnout from the cul-de-sac heading eastbound down 327th Lane Northwest.
One of the victims was airlifted by helicopter to North Memorial Hospital and the other victim was taken by ambulance to the Cambridge Medical Center.
The nurse came back to Gerlach and said the vehicle in question had pulled into a driveway just down the street prior to Gerlach’s arrival and then left the area after Gerlach arrived.
The wife of the man airlifted to North Memorial Hospital called Gerlach and identified Christianson as the driver of the Chevrolet truck. She said Christianson was intoxicated, and her husband and another man got into the back of the vehicle to go to Christianson’s residence. Christianson revved the engine and accelerated at a high rate of speed, and then the two men fell out of the back of the vehicle. She said she saw her husband fall and strike his head on the ground.
Gerlach was advised the man airlifted to North Memorial was in surgery and was expected to recover, but it would be a long process. The wife said she and her husband were friends with Christianson, and they were the reason they were at the party that evening, originally coming from the Christianson residence.
When Gerlach reviewed his dash camera footage, he noted prior to his arrival, there was a Chevrolet pickup heading eastbound on 327th Lane, which passed his squad car right before the entry into the cul-de-sac area and Gerlach arriving on scene.
After speaking with the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch, Gerlach was able to identify the vehicle involved as a Chevrolet Silverado, with the registered owner being Christianson.
On July 5, Isanti County Sheriff’s Investigator Wayne Seiberlich received notice of the case and the attempt to locate Christianson and his vehicle was currently not successful.
On July 5, Seiberlich made contact with the wife of the victim airlifted to North Memorial. She said the Christiansons were in their wedding, and they had been friends for more than 10 years.
The wife of the victim airlifted to North Memorial told Seiberlich they met with the other victim at the Christianson residence on July 4 and the group left together in Christianson’s pickup truck and drove to the cul-de-sac on the same road, arriving at the party.
She said Christianson drove the vehicle and that she and his wife rode inside of the truck with her husband and the other man riding on the tailgate of the truck, which had been laid down. She stated the group stayed at the party for an undetermined amount of time before leaving, with Christianson again driving with herself and Christianson’s wife inside of the truck and her husband and the other man again riding with the downed tailgate.
The wife of the victim airlifted to North Memorial explained as they left, Christianson accelerated to a speed so great it pushed her back in her seat and that she looked back to see both her husband and the other man ejected from the vehicle. Christianson’s vehicle left burnt tire marks on the asphalt on the cul-de-sac, which were photographed by deputies on the scene.
The wife of the victim airlifted to North Memorial explained Christianson left the area. She further told Seiberlich her husband was brought to North Memorial Hospital and at that time was unresponsive.
On July 5, Seiberlich spoke with one of the hosts of the party who stated she and her husband had a few people from the neighborhood over for a bean bag tournament. She said she was inside her residence when people came into the house, stating there was an accident with people lying on the ground. She said she went outside, but never saw the accident occur and she saw Christianson’s wife still at the residence, but Christianson was no longer there. She stated she didn’t hear that Christianson was the driver, but recalled him driving a white pickup truck.
Seiberlich then stopped at the Christianson home and attempted to contact the Christiansons and left a business card. Seiberlich noted the white truck was not present at the residence.
On July 5, Seiberlich contacted the husband of where the party was located by telephone and he stated the victims involved were in a white truck which belonged to Christianson. When asked if he was outside when the white truck left, he said he heard a ruckus and walked toward the cul-de-sac and “saw them on the pavement.” When asked specifically what he saw, he stated the names of the two victims. He said he went to one victim, who had a head injury that was bleeding, and told him not to move before proceeding to the next victim, who was lying on his back and gasping for air. Further, he stated he had not seen Christianson since the incident and called him briefly the morning of July 5, with Christianson answering the phone. When asked what they had specifically spoken about, he said he didn’t want to answer the question.
On July 7, Seiberlich spoke to victim’s wife who was airlifted to North Memorial about the condition of her husband. Seiberlich learned he was still not conscious and had setbacks due to pressure on his brain. The wife told Seiberlich she had heard the Christiansons have been telling people untrue versions of what had happened the night of the incident, including altered stories that people have been instructed to tell. One of the individuals who reportedly talked with Christianson was identified as a high school friend of Christianson.
Seiberlich contacted the high school friend, who told Seiberlich the night of the incident Christianson’s wife lied to people and told people to keep their mouth shut. He told Seiberlich he called out Christianson and he had texted Christianson to confess what he did. Screen shots of the messages exchanged during the conversation between the high school friend and Christianson were requested to be sent to Seiberlich.
On July 8, Seiberlich learned the other victim who had been transported to Cambridge Medical Center was now in Kansas and dealing with his injuries.
Seiberlich spoke with the victim in Kansas on July 8 who stated he recalled going to the end of the cul-de-sac to play a bean bag tournament. He recalled leaving the game at approximately 9:30 p.m. when he was sitting on the open tailgate of Christiansen’s truck with the other victim. He said he didn’t know who was driving, but assumed it was Christianson and that he did a power brake burnout, letting off the brake, describing himself and the other victim as being ejected. He stated he didn’t recall anything from that point until the ambulance transported him to Cambridge Medical Center where he was released the next day with road rash and five broken ribs. He stated on July 7, he had to return to the emergency room in Topeka, Kansas, for swelling around his ribs and learned he had seven broken ribs.
On July 8, Seiberlich obtained a statement from the nurse who rendered aid on the date of the incident. She stated she and her family were in her yard while the neighbors were having the party and that she heard the truck tires squeal and saw two males on a downed tailgate with coolers.
She said she saw the two men get ejected and land on their heads and screamed for people to call 911. While she was speaking with dispatch, she stated when she saw the truck leave, she heard that her son or husband saw the truck pull into a driveway and a squad car had passed the truck and the truck pulled back out of the driveway of the residence and left the area. She further stated she heard Christianson had actually gotten out of the vehicle and commented that he was “going to jail tonight,” and the people on the scene told him to leave.
Seiberlich was also able to observe the burnout mark left in the incident measuring the tire tread burned onto the asphalt which was weaving and not in a straight line with the skid measuring a straight line of approximately 111 feet.