A 19-year-old western Minnesota man has admitted that he and his father hosted an underage drinking party attended by a high school athlete who was later found dead of hypothermia.
Erik Hastad of rural Madison, Minn., pleaded guilty Tuesday in La qui Parle County Court to violating the county's social host ordinance, a misdemeanor, and contributing to the delinquency of a child, a gross misdemeanor, KSTP reports.
Hastad and his father, Gary, 59, were both charged with hosting the drinking party on a farm on March 8. When law enforcement authorities showed up at the party, many of the attendees fled, including Michael Anyasike, 18, of Dawson, Minn.
His parents reported him missing Sunday, and his body was found that afternoon about a mile from the site of the party. The county medical examiner determined that Anyasike died from hypothermia, with alcohol consumption as a contributing factor.
Anyasike, a senior, was a standout running back for the Dawson-Boyd High School football team, and had been planning to attend St. John’s University in Collegeville.
The Star Tribune reports that Gary Hastad was in court for a hearing Wednesday, but has not yet entered a plea, according to his attorney, Ronald R. Frauenshuh Jr.
According to the criminal complaint, Erik Hastad spread the word about the party and screened guests as they arrived. His father was not at the party, but the complaint said the man “reasonably should have known” about it.
The complaint noted that there had been underage drinking parties at the farm previously, snow was cleared to accommodate vehicles, and a sound system and spotlights had been set up.
A social host ordinance holds parents and other adults criminally liable if they allow underage drinking parties to take place with their knowledge or consent.
Erik Hastad faces a maximum penalty of more than a year in jail and $4,000 in fines, according to WCCO. His sentencing date has not been set. In February he pleaded guilty to his fourth underage drinking offense in the past 18 months.
Several of the partygoers were charged with underage drinking and fleeing law enforcement.