An Anoka County District Court judge has dismissed one of two felony charges filed against a Coon Rapids man in connection with a hit-and-run incident the evening of June 13, 2012 that severely injured a nine-year-old boy.
Following a motions hearing in court Feb. 14 and submission of memorandums by April 18, Judge Sharon Hall issued an order July 17 dismissing the criminal vehicular operation resulting in great bodily harm charge against Nathan Wade Boese, 33, 10846 Sycamore St. NW, for lack of probable cause.
But Hall scheduled a Sept. 30 trial date for Boese on the second charge, felony leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting a great bodily harm, with a pretrial hearing set for Aug. 23.
Defense attorney Steven Meshbesher had filed motions with the court to have evidence suppressed and to dismiss both charges for lack of probable cause.
But Hall denied defense motions to suppress any and all physical evidence discovered as a result of searches and or seizures as well as Meshbesher’s motion to suppress the photograph identification of Boese allegedly seen leaving the accident.
Amir Taylor, Minneapolis, was visiting relatives in Coon Rapids when he was struck by a truck at the intersection of 111th Avenue and Kumquat Street NW while riding a bike to a park about 7 p.m. June 13, 2013, leaving him severely injured.
The boy was riding the bike in a westerly direction when he was struck by the truck which was being driven south on Kumquat. The crash was heard and observed by neighbors, who described the truck and the driver that struck the boy, according to the complaint.
In dismissing the criminal vehicular operation charge for lack of probable cause, Hall ruled there was no evidence to show that Boese’s conduct was anything out of the ordinary or contrary to law because he had right of way at the intersection, while witnesses stated that the boy was riding the bike at a high rate of speed, that he failed to look in the direction the truck was coming and he collided with the truck, rather than the other way round.
“The defendant’s mere presence at the intersection at the time of the collision, without more, is insufficient to conclude he caused the accident,” Hall wrote in her ruling. “The fact that the boy was hurt, without more, does not make his harm the defendant’s fault.”
Following the collision, witnesses told police the truck continued south and stopped a block away, but as witnesses began yelling, the driver accelerated away and did not return to the scene, according to the complaint.
One of those witnesses saw the truck with significant damage to the driver’s side door, front fender and driver’s side mirror drive by his home immediately after the accident and from about 30 feet away, he was able to see the driver for a few seconds and observe the driver looking around as he drove, Hall wrote in her ruling.
One of Meshbesher’s motions was to suppress the photo identification of Boese by that witness from a six-person photo lineup given by an Anoka County Sheriff’s Office detective at the witnesses home June 17, 2012 because the manner in which the detective presented the line-up was “unnecessarily suggestive.”
But in denying the motion, Hall wrote, “There is no argument or evidence presented by the defendant to support this claim and defendant fails to even cite to any testimony in the record to support his claim.”
According to Hall, the detective took “meticulous care and precaution” to prevent from influencing the witness in the identification process.
Following the accident, authorities issued a description of the truck given by witnesses, a black, mid-’90s Chevy Z-71 pickup, the damage that was done – driver’s side door and side mirror – as well as a photo of a similar truck to the media and the morning of June 15, 2012 Coon Rapids Police got a call from an auto body repair shop in Minneapolis.
When the shop opened for business the morning of June 14, 2012 it got a call from a man, allegedly identified as Boese, who said he needed work done right away and would pay cash.
Later that morning, Boese arrived in his truck, a 1996 black Chevy Z-71 pickup truck, and allegedly said he needed the driver’s side mirror replaced as it had broken off and the windshield repaired, as well as dents in the driver’s door.
When police saw the truck, it looked as though the Z-71 stickers had recently been removed and some kind of compound was allegedly present.
Boese’s general physical description matched that given by witnesses, but when police contacted Boese he alleged he was not involved in any type of crash with a child or bike.
He alleged that the damage had been caused by an act of vandalism weeks before in Minneapolis, but he had not filed a police report and the stickers had been removed years before by his father.
According to the complaint, police learned that about 30 minutes after the crash, Boese was at his girlfriend’s work place in Minneapolis in the same black truck and video surveillance showed the truck being moved, then he and his girlfriend left in her car.
Video also allegedly showed the clothing Boese was wearing, including an orange-red shirt with a number 10 on the back and a baseball-style hat, as well as what appeared to be damage to the truck and Boese wiping or rubbing the area where the impact with the boy had occurred.
During a search of Boese’s Coon Rapids home, clothing allegedly matching that seen on the video the night of the crash was found in a laundry basket, as well as a hat similar to what he was wearing in the video.
The truck was tested for blood and a presumptive test from the driver’s side door area allegedly came back positive for the presence of blood.
As part of the process of identifying Boese as the suspect and producing evidence that led to the charges, detectives requested and received four warrants signed by judges, including a search of Boese’s cell phone records; seizure of the pickup truck and any parts removed from it for forensic examination; search and seizure of clothing similar to that seen worn by the suspect from Boese’s home; and search and seizure of any vehicle cleaning or waxing products from Boese’s home for forensic examination.
The general challenge of the defense to the four search warrants that they were not supported by probable cause was rejected by Hall in her ruling.
“The court’s ruling of the search warrant applications finds that they were each supported by probable cause that there was a fair probability that the things to be searched and seized would yield evidence of the crimes the officers were investigating,” Hall wrote.
Indeed, in her opinion, the judge wrote that dents from the driver’s side door of the truck swabbed for biological fluids or DNA produced a match to the boy.
Court records show that Boese was convicted of felony second-degree burglary in 2002 and placed on probation for 10 years at sentencing in January 2003.
Later in 2003, Boese was charged with a felony first-degree controlled substance crime and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Boese was not arrested until 2009 and in April 2010 he pleaded guilty and was placed on probation for 20 years.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]