A 30-year-old Fergus Falls man has been formally charged with two counts each of criminal vehicle homicide and fleeing a peace officer after he ran from deputies and crashed into a vehicle, killing both occupants.
The deadly incident unfolded Oct. 2 when the deputies went undercover in an attempt to arrest Cody J. Freitag on several outstanding felony warrants by posing as interested drug buyers and setting up a meeting with Freitag at a Casey's General Store in Fergus Falls.
While in the gas station parking lot, Freitag arrived and fled, with a criminal complaint describing that he hit a deputy's squad car, jumped a curb and drove through grass before fleeing at a high rate of speed westbound on Fir Avenue.
Two deputies involved in the undercover operation chased Freitag southbound on North Tower Road. One of the deputies stopped pursuit because they hit a curb, which disabled the squad vehicle. The other deputy continued to pursue Freitag, chasing him southeast onto College Way and then eastbound on Cavour Avenue.
"Defendant continued eastbound on Cavour at high rates of speed well in excess of the posted speed limit and failed to yield at the stop sign at Union Avenue, striking a 2007 Toyota Camry," the complaint reads.
The occupants of the Toyota were killed and later identified as Steven J. Christianson, 72, and Diane L. Christianson, 71, a married couple from Fergus Falls. An autopsy revealed both were killed instantly upon impact. They had just celebrated their 48th anniversary two days before the deadly crash, according to their obituary.
Freitag, who is quoted at the scene saying multiple times: "What have I done?" In a later interview at a hospital in Fargo, Freitag is quoted as saying "I (expletive) up, man. I hurt people."
The criminal complaint accuses Freitag of speeding and passing cars while traveling into the wrong lane of traffic before slamming into the Christiansons. A search of Freitag's vehicle found that he was in possession of drug paraphernalia, pipes, a torch, and bags of methamphetamine.