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Man who crashed car while fleeing police, killing high school sweethearts, sentenced to 18 years

"What have I done?" the suspect allegedly uttered after causing the fatal crash.
Cody Freitag.

Cody Freitag.

A Fergus Falls man who killed high school sweethearts as he was trying to evade arrest was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison.

Cody J. Freitag pleaded guilty to two counts of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle resulting in death in connection with the Oct. 2, 2020 crash in Otter Tail County, according to court records. Deputies had tried to arrest the 30-year-old on several outstanding warrants that evening, but Freitag drove off, leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase.

The pursuit ended when Freitag blew a stop sign and crashed into a vehicle at Union Avenue and Cavour Avenue in Fergus Falls.

Inside that vehicle were the Christiansons: Husband Steven, 72 years old, and wife Diane, 71. Both suffered extensive injuries that killed them instantly, the criminal complaint said. Freitag, at the scene, repeatedly uttered, "What have I done?" the charges state, and while in the hospital he told detectives, "I f****** up, man ... I hurt people."

The Christiansons were high school sweethearts, and remembered as " open-minded and open-hearted." 

"They gave people the benefit of the doubt and always helped those in need," their obituary reads. "They were relentlessly kind and optimistic. They were gracious, patient, and without complaint. They were encouragers and cheerleaders. They were the world’s best mom and dad, sister and brother, and friend to all. Their foundational faith in God was all-encompassing and guided their every decision in life."

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As per the plea agreement submitted in September, Freitag was sentenced Monday in Otter Tail County court to 17.5 years for one count and 18.75 years for the other. He will serve the sentences concurrently at the St. Cloud correctional facility, with 390 days credit for time served already.

As part of the plea agreement, two criminal vehicular homicide charges against him were dismissed.


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