A Marine on St. Croix man is facing several charges after he left the scene of a fatal crash on Nov. 1 near North Branch and had to be shot with a stun gun several times by officers when placed under arrest.
Samuel Dakota Moreno, 23, was charged before Judge Suzanne Bollman on Nov. 4 in Chisago County District Court with felonies criminal vehicular homicide (operating a vehicle with negligence under influence of alcohol) and criminal vehicular homicide (driver who causes collision leaves scene); gross misdemeanor traffic DWI; and misdemeanor driving with a revoked license.
Moreno’s bail was set at $300,000 without conditions or $150,000 with conditions, and his next court appearance was set for Nov. 26.
The crash occurred around 5:30 a.m. Nov. 1 on Interstate 35, near the Highway 95 exit for North Branch. Due to the injuries suffered in the crash, after his vehicle was allegedly hit from behind by Moreno and flipped on its roof into a ditch, Joeffre Michael Kolosky, 63, of Moose Lake, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the criminal complaint, Minnesota State Trooper Jim Swanson responded to a motor vehicle crash on Interstate 35 in the northbound lane of traffic, near the exit for Highway 95 near North Branch.
Upon arrival, Swanson observed a black Buick Park Avenue was flipped on its roof in the northbound ditch. Local first responders including the fire department, Lakes Region EMS and officers from the North Branch Police Department and the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office were coordinating efforts at the scene.
Firefighters extricated the driver, Kolosky, from the Buick and performed lifesaving efforts. Kolosky was pronounced dead at the scene due to his injuries from the crash.
Troopers noted heavy tire skid marks in the right lane of northbound I-35 and separate tire tracks in the northbound ditch that led to the Buick’s location.
Troopers observed a fluid trail, likely antifreeze, in the roadway going northbound from the impact location. The fluid trail then disappeared, indicating the driver of the other car in the crash drove north away from the crash site. Troopers observed the Buick sustained heavy rear end damage. From a preliminary review of crash scene, troopers believed the Buick had been hit from behind in the right-hand lane of northbound traffic by the other vehicle, forcing the Buick into the ditch, where it flipped. The vehicle striking the Buick continued traveling north on I-35.
Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jay Helin located the suspected striking vehicle parked at the Goose Creek Rest Area, which is located north of the crash location. Helin observed a black Toyota Tundra truck with heavy front-end damage. Both airbags in the truck had deployed and it appeared to be leaking antifreeze.
Helin noted a footprint on the sidewalk just outside the driver’s door of the truck. Helin located Moreno lying on the floor of the rest stop bathroom. It took Helin multiple attempts to rouse or wake Moreno. Helin noted Moreno appeared very impaired. Trooper Cory Johnson responded to the rest stop and noted Moreno smelled of a moderate odor of alcohol and a strong odor of burnt marijuana. Moreno had fresh blood on his face and could not answer basic questions. Moreno had bloodshot watery eyes and appeared very unsteady when standing. Johnson and Helin attempted to place Moreno under arrest. Moreno refused to comply and began yelling at the officers. Helin had to use his stun gun on him multiple times to gain compliance. Officers located a bag of suspected marijuana, four marijuana pipes and a small plastic bag containing an unknown substance in Moreno’s pockets. The footprints located outside the truck appeared consistent with the shoes Moreno wore.
Johnson applied for and obtained a search warrant to take a sample of Moreno’s blood. A blood sample was taken from Moreno with the assistance of medical staff at the Hennepin County Medical Center. The sample will be sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing.
According to the criminal complaint, Moreno pleaded guilty to a charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired out of Polk County, Wisconsin, and his license was revoked effective July 25, 2016.
The following are other recent local cases from Washington County courts:
• Nathan Dean Hamel-Snapp, 22, of an unknown address, was sentenced Oct. 2 for a fifth-degree drug crime related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Afton Marie Schaefer, 21, of Deer River, made an initial appearance Oct. 4 for a fifth-degree drug charge and improper use of hypodermic syringes related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Troy Edward Conley, 51, of Wyoming, was sentenced Oct. 7 for DWI.
• Nena Elizabeth Godwin, 39, of St. Paul, made an initial appearance Oct. 7 for check forgery related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Christopher Shane Peterson, 41, of Glendale, Arizona, made an initial appearance Oct. 10 for a fifth-degree drug charge related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.
• Nicole Marie Hamer, 39, of Vadnais Heights, made a first appearance Oct. 11 for a fifth-degree drug charge.
• Neal O’Brien Gaalaas, 29, of an unknown address, was sentenced Oct. 16 for a fifth-degree drug crime related to an investigation by the Forest Lake Police Department.