FARGO — A 29-year old Michigan man will spend six years in prison after hitting and killing a former Alexandria man with a vehicle in Fargo and fleeing the scene, leaving police to believe a woman he was with was responsible.
David James Torgerson of Calumet, Mich., pleaded guilty Tuesday, May 18, to Class B felonies of manslaughter and failure to report a fatal accident. He was scheduled to go to trial Tuesday, but Judge Wade Webb accepted the plea and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Torgerson will only have to serve six years and will have 237 days of credit for time served.
He was charged Sept. 17 for the Sept. 11 death of 39-year-old Peter McKenney, who had previously lived in Alexandria. McKenney was likely walking home to a Fargo residence from the grocery store when he was hit by a vehicle about 1 a.m. that day near 10th Avenue and 42nd Street South, police said.
Prosecutors initially charged 33-year-old Shanyell Cherish Headswift of New Town, N.D., with a Class A felony of criminal vehicular homicide and a misdemeanor count of hindering law enforcement. That’s because officers found her behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit McKenny, according to a criminal complaint.
The felony against Headswift was dismissed after she told police Torgerson was the driver. Headswift had been drinking that night and was passed out in the passenger seat of the vehicle when the crash happened, the complaint said. When she woke up, Torgerson was running away, according to court documents.
Surveillance footage also showed Torgerson fleeing the scene.
Headswift thought Torgerson hit a pole, the complaint said. She said she didn’t remember moving into the driver side of the vehicle.
Headswift told police that she and Torgerson were “friends with benefits,” and she tried to “take the DUI” for him because she cared about him, the complaint said.
Once she found out McKenney died from the crash, she said she wasn’t willing to take the blame for Torgerson, according to court documents.
Torgerson was booked into the Cass County Jail on Sept. 24.
Headswift eventually pleaded guilty to the hindering charge and was given a year of supervised probation.