Man Charged in Connection to Fatal Wrong-Way Crash in Waite Park

Charlie Ray Barnett Photo: Stearns County Jail
Charlie Ray Barnett

July 11, 2018 03:41 PM

A St. Cloud man faces multiple charges after authorities say he was driving a vehicle involved in a fatal wrong-way crash in Waite Park. 

A criminal complaint states that Charlie Ray Barnett faces two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. 


Officers responded around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday to the intersection of Division Street and Second Avenue South on reports of a two-vehicle crash, according to the complaint. 

RELATED: Police: Wrong-Way Driver Hits Car in Waite Park, Kills 2

When officers arrived, they located a Chevrolet El Camino and Chevrolet Malibu that had suffered severe damage. 

The complaint said Richard Tomlinson, 61, of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, and 77-year-old Roger Nelson of Clearwater, both occupants of the El Camino, died from injuries sustained during the crash. 

Officers were able to identify Barnett as the driver of the Malibu.

A witness told investigators they saw Barnett's vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed down Division Street before it crossed the median and struck the El Camino. 

RELATED: 1 Injured in Waite Park Crash Following Police Pursuit

The complaint said officers found an aerosol bottle of dusting cleaner inside of Barnett's vehicle. Officers later learned that Barnett had a history of huffing dusting cleaner, according to the complaint.

Officers also learned Barnett had been at Best Buy prior to the collision. Video surveillance from the store showed a man matching Barnett's description walk into the store and purchase two cans of dusting cleaner. 

After being transported to the hospital, Barnett said he had a panic attack and does not remember the crash.

Barnett could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. 


Ben Rodgers

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