Weather Forecast


UPDATED: Alcohol charge filed in connection with deadly crash

Brandon J. Hedlund (submitted photo)

Prosecutors allege that a 22-year-old man bought booze for an Afton woman charged in the death of her friend in an alcohol-related car crash.

Washington County Attorney Doug Johnson said his office charged Brandon J. Hedlund with furnishing alcohol to a person under age 21. The county attorney's office claims Hedlund bought vodka for his girlfriend, 19-year-old Alicia R. Haupert of Afton, before she crashed a car Friday, Jan. 29 in May Township, north of Stillwater. Haupert told authorities she and two friends drank the alcohol before the crash.

Haupert's friend Andrea Zimmerman, 20, of Stillwater, was a passenger in the car and was killed in the crash.

The Washington County District Court charge against Hedlund, of Somerset, Wis., is a felony because Haupert allegedly became intoxicated as a result and caused the death of another person.

Hedlund was arrested Tuesday in Somerset and was being held in St. Croix County Jail today, awaiting extradition to Minnesota. His felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"People don't think it's a big deal when they buy liquor for minors," Johnson said in announcing the charge. "In this case, someone died as a result of Mr. Hedlund's irresponsible actions. Now he is looking at having a felony conviction."

Haupert was charged Monday with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the crash. She is being held in the Washington County Jail; bail was set at $40,000. Her initial court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 11.

The maximum penalty for Haupert's criminal vehicular homicide charge is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaints, Hedlund told authorities he knew the women were under 21, but agreed to buy alcohol for them because Haupert was his girlfriend.

Surveillance video obtained by authorities shows a man identified as Hedlund entering the Cub Foods liquor store in Stillwater Thursday evening, buying two bottles of liquid and leaving. Surveillance video also shows Hedlund driving his vehicle to the rear of the parking lot, where he briefly parked alongside a vehicle occupied by Haupert and her friend Trisha Hughes, 20, of Lake Elmo.

In interviews after the crash, Haupert and Hughes admitted that they gave Hedlund $20 in exchange for a bottle of Smirnoff vodka. They then left, picked up Zimmerman and went to a party in Marine on St. Croix.

Haupert told authorities she drank vodka mixed with Full Throttle, an energy drink, at the party. Hughes said the three women finished the vodka bottle.

Hedlund said he went to the party for about an hour, and the women "were drunk" when he left, he told authorities.

Haupert said she stopped drinking about midnight Friday. The women left and went to another house, where they fell sleep around 4 a.m. They awoke around 8 a.m. and left so Haupert could get to work. They were in Hughes' Pontiac G6, but Haupert was driving.

The Minnesota State Patrol was called to Highway 95 and 114th Street North at 8:28 a.m. Friday for a reported vehicle crash. Authorities observed a severely damaged vehicle in the ditch on the west side of the highway. It appeared the car had struck a power pole.

Haupert and Hughes, a front-seat passenger, sustained minor injuries. Authorities pulled Zimmerman's body from the back seat. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The women all smelled of alcohol at the scene, authorities reported. None of three was wearing a seat belt.

Haupert told a state trooper that she thought she hit a patch of black ice while traveling about 55 mph, tried to correct the car's movement and then spun out of control. The State Patrol report said the road condition was dry.

Haupert said she did not remember how much she had to drink. A preliminary breath test indicated she had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.108 more than eight hours after she said she stopped drinking.

According to Washington County court records, Haupert pleaded guilty in March 2009 to underage alcohol consumption and paid a $185 fine.

Check back for updates.