A Mankato man was charged Friday in a fatal ATV crash that left a mother dead.
Karissa Bode, 32, of North Mankato, died the day following the crash, after which she was hospitalized with serious injuries.
Joshua Michael Wieland, 31, now faces charges of felony criminal vehicular homicide in Bode’s death. He’s also been charged with gross misdemeanor DWI in Blue Earth County Court.
The criminal complaint says Wieland was operating the ATV when it crashed before 7 p.m. on August 14 in South Bend Township. But Wieland told responding deputies that Bode was operating the ATV and he was a passenger on the back according to the complaint. Wieland allegedly told police Bode turned to talk to him and a tire hit rip rap on the embankment near the path, causing her to lose control.
Deputies say Wieland had a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage,” coming from his breath, slurred speech, and he was staggering. Wieland allegedly admitted to consuming alcohol prior to the crash and voluntarily submitted a preliminary breath test. The complaint says the PBT indicated his blood-alcohol concentration was more than four times the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.
Two area businesses had video surveillance that captured the crash. Court documents say footage showed Wieland had been operating the ATV. The complaint says surveillance video also showed Wieland holding what appeared to be a beer can while he was driving. Deputies had noticed several beer cans in the area next to the ATV the day of the crash.
Investigators say Wieland also called someone prior to calling 911 after the crash.
In an interview with Wieland four days after the crash, he told investigators Bode wanted to drive the ATV on the way back from checking out some trails. Court documents say Wieland told investigators he was being “100 percent honest.” He again admitted to drinking alcohol prior to the crash, according to the complaint, but told police he didn’t feel too intoxicated and allegedly said his “tolerance for alcohol is up there.”
The complaint said Wieland told police for a second time during the interview that Bode was driving. Investigators then confronted Wieland with the photos from surveillance. He then allegedly admitted to driving the ATV.
Wieland told investigators he wasn’t sure why he made up the story about Bode driving. He said he was not sure how fast he was going, and said he’d turned to talk to Bode, which could have caused the crash.
Wieland has a prior DWI conviction from 2013.
A Go Fund Me campaign for Bode’s family has raised more than $20,000 to date.