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Father and son charged in student-athlete's underage drinking death

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Via text messages and word-of-mouth, news of a BYOB party to be held at an unoccupied farmhouse circulated quickly among teenagers and young adults in Lac qui Parle County. About 100 of them showed up at the unoccupied farm in western part of the state on March 9, including a standout high school athlete who fled the party when law enforcement officers arrived to break it up. Michael Anyasike, 18, of Dawson, was found the next afternoon and died of hypothermia complicated by alcohol use, according to a coroner's report.

Now the Star Tribune reports that Gary L. Hastad, 59, and Erik P. Hastad, 19, have been charged with violating the Lac qui Parle County’s social host ordinance, a misdemeanor. The younger Hastad also was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a gross misdemeanor. He was booked into jail Monday and awaiting a court appearance. Last month he pleaded guilty to his fourth underage drinking offense in the past 18 months.

The criminal complaint said the younger man 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.

The Associated Press reported that when three officers arrived at the party, a number of individuals ran, many of them not dressed for the wintry conditions. Police used their PA system to tell people to return to the house because of the cold weather. WCCO reported that six other teenagers and young adults from the area were charged with fleeing a peace officer by a means other than a motor vehicle and underage consumption. Their blood alcohol content levels ranged from 0.018 to 0.177.

Anyasike was a senior and had been a standout running back on the Dawson-Boyd High School football team. He had planned to attend St. John’s University in Collegeville in the fall.

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