WILLMAR -- An 18-year-old Atwater man made his first appearance Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court for allegedly driving drunk and causing a Nov. 15 rollover crash that injured several passengers.
Travis Charles Berends is charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide or injury, plus misdemeanor charges of impaired. Court documents show that a blood sample drawn around 8 a.m. showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.17.
He also appeared on two felony second-degree burglary charges, plus a misdemeanor theft charge, for allegedly burglarizing an Atwater home on Nov. 10. His next court appearance is Jan. 20.
Unconditional bail was set at $40,000 by Judge Michael J. Thompson. Conditional release was allowed on his personal recognizance. He was ordered to have no contact with others involved in both cases, to not drive unless it's for work and submit to at least two weeks of electronic alcohol monitoring.
According to the criminal vehicular complaint, numerous Kandiyohi County deputies responded to a single-vehicle rollover crash around 6 a.m. Nov. 15 along County Road 3 in Fahlun Township. The investigation revealed there were four people inside the vehicle, including Berends. They were transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. He was interviewed, said he had been drinking and didn't remember driving.
Two passengers, John Springer and Cody Ledeboer, told officers Berends was driving, speeding and very mad. Ledeboer sustained seven broken ribs, a bruised heart, a punctured lung and numerous lacerations on his leg.
The fourth passenger, Sasha Delagarza, was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, for treatment of her injuries. The criminal vehicular homicide charges include a subdivision of the law that says a "person who violates subdivision 1 and causes great bodily harm to another not constituting attempted murder or assault or great bodily harm to an unborn child who is subsequently born alive may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both."
According to the burglary complaint, an Atwater man reported to the city police department around 3:15 p.m. Nov. 10 that his home had been burglarized and a laptop and purse were missing. He believed that Berends had committed the crime.
Berends was interviewed, and denied involvement. However, after the Nov. 15 accident, documents from the woman's purse were found in his vehicle by officers. He was interviewed again and admitted that he and John Springer had gone to the home and took the laptop and purse.
Another Atwater officer had stopped their vehicle that day, after a citizen had called reporting a suspicious car near the home. The driver was identified as Berends and the officer identified Springer after being shown his photograph.
Springer, 20, of Willmar pleaded not guilty Wednesday the two burglary felonies, plus the misdemeanor theft charge against him for the same Nov. 10 incident. His next appearance is Feb. 23.