Man fatally hit by car
Authorities say they've determined how a man's body ended up in the middle of a Lake of the Woods, Minn., County road earlier this month. An investigation shows that Aaron Kiefat, 26, Maple Grove, Minn., was fatally hit by a car as he lay on Coun...
Authorities say they've determined how a man's body ended up in the middle of a Lake of the Woods, Minn., County road earlier this month.
An investigation shows that Aaron Kiefat, 26, Maple Grove, Minn., was fatally hit by a car as he lay on County Road 20, Sheriff Dallas Block said.
Kiefat left a house party on foot in the early morning hours of Aug. 10, Block said. A bartender working at the party told investigators she saw Kiefat walking along the road.
"I believe he laid down on the highway or passed out on the highway," Block said.
About 2:50 a.m., several carloads of people left the party. A Dodge Durango driven by Jessica Bendickson led the caravan in the southbound lane. Bendickson told deputies she saw a dark object in the road and didn't have time to avoid it.
"They thought it was a bag of garbage on the road, and they ran over it," Block said.
Bendickson's vehicle turned around and returned to the scene where a number of people had already gathered, Block said.
Bendickson's friend, who is a nurse, found a pulse on Kiefat but later lost it, Block said. The medical examiner's report showed that it was the impact with the vehicle that killed Kiefat.
A toxicology report revealed that Kiefat's blood-alcohol level was 0.215 percent, Block said. The legal limit for a driver in Minnesota is 0.08 percent.
Witnesses told investigators Kiefat was drinking shots of liquor during the night. They also said Kiefat had been drinking at a resort along the Lake of the Woods before the party. He had been staying at another resort with his mother, father and sister.
Block said deputies did not test Bendickson's blood-alcohol level that night because at that point they did not know she was driving the vehicle that ran over Kiefat.
Block said there was a "hysterical crowd" at the scene, and the fact that it was Bendickson who hit Kiefat was not brought to deputies' attention.
It's believed that Bendickson was not exceeding the road's 55 mph speed limit, Block said.
Block said the sheriff's office, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the medical examiner's office in Coon Rapids, Minn., have submitted reports to the state's attorney who has not yet made a final decision on whether to file charges.
During the investigation, Chief Deputy Jim Walton hinted that there would not be criminal charges.
"I wouldn't call it a criminal investigation," Walton said. "I'd call it a death investigation."
The department initially theorized that Kiefat fell out of a vehicle, possibly out of the bed of a pickup truck. Block said that theory did not hold up.
Ingersoll reports on crime and courts. Reach him at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .