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Driver Pleads Guilty In Wrong-Way Crash That Killed 2

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A 28-year-old St. Cloud man has pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in a July fatal crash in Waite Park that left two men dead.

Charlie Barnett entered a Norgaard plea, where the defendant admits the facts show a clear indication of guilt despite a lack of any personal memory of the incident itself.

RELATED: Wrong-Way Driver Hits, Kills 2 Men In Waite Park

Roger Nelson, 77, and 61-year-old Richard Tomlinson of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, were out test-driving Nelson's 1970 Chevrolet El Camino that Tomlinson was potentially buying. Barnett, driving the wrong way on Division Street, hit the El Camino. The July 9 crash killed both Nelson and Tomlinson.

Charlie Barnett
Charlie Barnett (credit: Stearns County Jail)

The crash happened on Division Street at Second Avenue South in Waite Park. The complaint states when officers got to the scene, they went up to Barnett's Chevrolet Malibu and noticed an aerosol bottle of dusting cleaner on the driver's side floor, where Barnett had been sitting. Officers were told Barnett has a history of huffing dusting cleaner, and as recently as a week before he was seen huffing dusting cleaner and falling over.

RELATED: Driver Charged In Wrong-Way Waite Park Fatal Crash

The complaint states witnesses at the scene said Barnett's Malibu was driving at a high rate of speed. The vehicle, heading westbound, drove through the median and hit a sign near Division Street and Second Avenue before crossing into the eastbound lane. Police say Barnett didn't slow down or try to avoid the crash in any way. Witnesses said Barnett was acting strange, and his eyes appeared bloodshot after the crash.

Barnett will be sentenced Jan. 17 at 2:30 p.m.


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