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Driver in Fatal Crash Near Pine City Charged with Vehicular Homicide

19-year-old Anastasia Nelson has been charged for her involvement in a horrific fatal crash that left two dead in the early morning hours of October 15.

The single-vehicle crash happened around 1:49 a.m. near the intersection of Pokegama Lake Road and Fairway Road SW.

According to a criminal complaint, law enforcement was called by a resident who lived north of the crash after Anastasia showed up at her home and stated that a vehicle had crashed. Anastasia reportedly told the resident that she was not hurt but very shaken up and that she had been drinking at a party.

Anastasia claimed that she had been following her friends in another car when the crash happened, and she was supposed to drive her friends home but they were all "black out drunk." She reportedly told Pine County Sheriff's Deputies that there were two vehicles at the scene, but the second vehicle had left.

Upon arrival, a sheriff's deputy found a four-door 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix with nobody in the driver's seat. An 18-year-old male identified as James Brumbaugh was found in the rear driver's side seat asking for help.

Another 18-year-old identified as Deandre Sydney was found dead in the rear passenger's side seat. Based on scuff marks from his shoes, law enforcement concluded that Deandre was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash.

20-year-old Kiya Johnson was discovered dead, lying in the ditch between the vehicle and the roadway. Kiya was the registered owner of the car and was determined to have been sitting in the rear passenger's seat when the crash occurred.

In reading the criminal complaint, Anastasia was inconsistent with what she told law enforcement about the crash.

Anastasia said that she was riding in the backseat; however, deputies noticed a large amount of clothing and property was throughout the back seat, indicating only two people could fit back there.

She also reportedly told a sheriff's deputy that she did not know who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. She stated that she could not drive and had switched with someone in another car.

After receiving her Miranda rights, Anastasia said that she would give her statement.

She reportedly told the deputy that she had been driving the Pontiac for about a quarter mile but was "flashed" by another vehicle and pulled over because she was drunk and could not drive. She stated that she pulled over and "some random people" asked her to get into their car.

She said that a tall woman with bleach blonde hair drove the Pontiac because she was sober. She followed behind the Pontiac in the car with people that she did not know. Anastasia told law enforcement that the Pontiac went into the ditch on Fairway Road SW where she saw it flip.

Anastasia claimed that she jumped out of the second car and ran to the Pontiac where she found that James Brumbaugh was the only one conscious before leaving to get help.

When she was being released from the hospital, Anastasia asked a deputy about the condition of her friends. While she was being told, Anastasia reportedly said, "I should not have been driving."

The criminal complaint also stated that Anastasia told others inconsistent stories about the crash in jail, including that James Brumbaugh had been driving at the time of the crash.

An inspection of the driver's door showed minimal damage. The steering wheel airbag had deployed and a small amount of blood was on it. The complaint stated that the driver's seatbelt was partially locked out with red fibers on the shoulder strap. Anastasia was reportedly wearing a red and black flannel that was consistent with the fibers on the seat belt.

Based on her height, weight, and the position of the driver's seat, deputies determined that Anastasia was driving at the time of the crash.

Anastasia Nelson has been charged with two counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide - Operate Vehicle with Negligence - Under Influence Alcohol and one count of Criminal Vehicular Operation - Great Bodily Harm - Under Influence Alcohol.

GoFundMes for Kiya and Deandre have been started.

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