West Fargo assistant principal left scene of DUI crash, investigation says

Internal investigative documents and a letter of reprimand obtained by Forum News Service from the West Fargo Public School District through a public records request shed more light on what happened.

Nathan Schleicher webcrop.jpg
Nathan Schleicher

FARGO — A West Fargo high school assistant principal accused of driving drunk last weekend hit a tree, injured himself and left the scene of the crash, according to internal investigative documents from the school district.

Nathan Robert Schleicher, 35, of Fargo was cited early Saturday, Feb. 27, by Fargo police on misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, refusal to take a chemical test and failing to stop/remain at the scene of an accident, according to court records. The Sheyenne High School assistant principal was not booked into Cass County Jail due to protocols to prevent the coronavirus from getting into the jail’s general population, Fargo police spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker said.

Instead, he was issued a court summons that states his arraignment is March 10.

Court documents made public Monday, March 1, do not give details of the crash, nor do they say how officers found out about it. An officer wrote the citation at 12:53 a.m. Saturday.

Internal investigative documents and a letter of reprimand obtained by Forum News Service from the West Fargo Public School District through a public records request shed more light on what happened.


According to those documents, Schleicher told school officials he went to the Pour House bar in Fargo around 8 p.m. Friday. He left the bar around midnight after drinking alcoholic beverages, the documents said.

The internal investigation did not reveal how many drinks he had.

“Mr. Schleicher stated that, while driving, he glanced down at his phone, swerved off the road and crashed into the trees on the side of the road, causing injury to himself,” the internal investigation summary said.

The district documents redacted specifics about Schleicher’s injuries, as well as information that he said caused him stress.

Schleicher then walked a block and a half to his home to seek assistance, an investigative summary said. Law enforcement arrived at his home and initiated a criminal investigation, the documents said.

The Fargo Police Department and William Wischer, an assistant city prosecutor, declined to comment on the details of the crash. Prosecutors typically don’t talk about the details of open cases. Wischer said he wanted to treat all defendants fairly.

Schleicher acknowledged he was “not in an appropriate condition to be driving and that he made a mistake in electing to do so,” the documents said. The documents also noted he felt terrible about the incident, was apologetic and concerned about his job and the district.

District leadership alerted families and staff members to the incident in a Saturday, Feb. 27, statement. The leaving the scene misdemeanor was not part of the official charge list presented to the school by the Fargo Police Department when the statement was issued, West Fargo Public Schools spokeswoman Heather Leas said in an email to Forum News Service.


“After conducting an internal investigation, which included an interview with Mr. Schleicher, it was determined that he will be returning to work this week,” the Saturday statement said. “Decisions regarding any potential action will be made once an outcome is determined in his case.”

West Fargo Schools’ internal investigation found there was “sufficient evidence to support the allegations.” However, he was allowed to return to work Monday, the district said.

Schleicher also declined to comment, deferring questions to his attorney, Mark Friese. It’s too early to comment on the case, Friese said. His office will request reports, look at evidence and decide how to proceed.

Schleicher is presumed innocent until proven guilty, Friese said.

West Fargo Schools said in the documents Schleicher must develop an accountability plan that includes an apology to the Sheyenne High School Community.

“Mr. Schleicher and the school district understand the severity of Saturday’s events,” Leas said. “We also understand that accountability can best be achieved through intentional restorative practices versus outright dismissal.”

Schleicher has been an assistant principal for Sheyenne High since July 2017.

Readers can reach Forum News Service reporter April Baumgarten at 701-241-5417 or follow her on Twitter @aprilbaumsaway.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
What To Read Next
Get Local