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Driver charged in 'catastrophic' crash that killed University of Minnesota pediatrician

The victim was on his way to work at the time of the wreck.
Dr. Daniel Schnobrich

Dr. Daniel Schnobrich

A St. Paul man faces criminal charges in connection with a high-speed crash that killed a University of Minnesota pediatrician. 

Norman Toney, 34, was charged Friday with criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the Nov. 9 crash in Arden Hills. The criminal complaint accuses him of speeding and weaving in and out of traffic, fleeing a police officer that tried to pull him over, then crashing into the car of 40-year-old Daniel Schnobrich.

Schnobrich was wearing a seat belt, but the force of the impact was so great the buckle snapped, and he was ejected from the car, the charges say. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Authorities say the entire front end and drivers side door of his Toyota Camry had been "sheared off," and the engine block was hanging out the passenger side.

Schnobrich, according to a University of Minnesota profile, was an associate professor in the Department of Medicine, and a hospitalist in both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics. He was born in Waconia, an obituary says, and had a wife and children. He's described as an "adventurist" who loved to travel, competed in marathons and triathlons, and once hiked Mount Kilimanjaro.

He was on his way to work at the time of the crash, the charges say.

Toney made his first court appearance Monday morning. An omnibus hearing is set for Dec. 29, 2021.

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What the charges say

According to the charges filed against Toney:

A Roseville police officer saw a dark sedan speeding and weaving in an out of traffic on Snelling Avenue near County Road C around 8:36 p.m. the night of the crash. The officer turned their lights to stop the driver, but the sedan sped off. The sedan's driver then turned off its lights, and the officer lost sight of the car.

Three minutes later, at Highway 96 West and Hamline Avenue in Arden Hills, deputies responded to a "catastrophic" crash. AT the scene there was a heavily damaged Toyota Camry, with the driver, Schnobrich, having been ejected from the vehicle despite wearing a seat belt. The buckle was located away from the vehicle.

There was no other car at the scene, but a responding deputy saw Toney sprinting from the intersection toward a nearby pond. Toney ignored commands to stop and officers tackled him. He had blood all over his hands and face. 

Witnesses said they'd watched Toney, who appeared to be under the influence, run back and forth from the pond to the intersection repeatedly. One witness said he initially "came out of nowhere."

Investigators checked the pond and found a brown Cadillac SRX, on its hood and fully submerged in the water. Divers confirmed nobody else was inside, and the vehicle was pulled from the pond. Its speedometer was stuck at 102mph, and investigators think it flipped and went airborne before crashing into the water.

Authorities later confirmed that vehicle had been sold to Toney about a month earlier.

Schnobrich was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at 1:23 a.m. as a result of multiple traumatic injuries. 

Toney was treated for minor injuries then arrested. He refused to talk to authorities, though in a phone call with his mother, expressed shock he was being charged, saying a man jumped out in front of him, resulting in a crash. He also denied any cars went in the water. 

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