Revelation about crash that killed former Alexandria man leads to charges against new suspect

A charge of criminal vehicular homicide against Shanyell Headswift has been dismissed. Now police are looking for David Torgerson in death of Peter McKenney.

A pedestrian was struck and killed Sept. 11 at the intersection of 42nd Street and 10th Avenue South in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — Shanyell Headswift was charged with killing a former Alexandria man in a drunken driving crash last week in south Fargo, but authorities now say someone else is to blame.

That someone else is 28-year-old David James Torgerson, according to Cass County prosecutors who charged him Thursday, Sept. 17, with manslaughter and duty in accident involving death, both felonies.

A warrant has been issued for Torgerson's arrest in connection to the death of the pedestrian, 39-year-old Peter McKenney. McKenney, originally from Wheaton, Minn., had lived in Alexandria before eventually moving to Fargo, according to his family.

Peter McKenney.jpg
Peter McKenney (Contributed)


Fargo police said McKenney may have been walking home from the grocery store when he was struck.

Prosecutors initially charged Headswift, 32, with a Class A felony count of criminal vehicular homicide and a misdemeanor count of hindering law enforcement. Those charges accused her of hitting McKenney around 1 a.m. Sept. 11 near 10th Avenue and 42nd Street South in Fargo while intoxicated.

Officers said they found Headswift behind the wheel of the vehicle when they responded to the crash.

The vehicular homicide charge against Headswift was dismissed Tuesday after a witness told police he saw a man wearing a white top exit the driver side of the vehicle after hearing the crash, according to court documents. That man ran from the scene, the witness told police.

Surveillance video also showed a figure with a white top exiting the vehicle, court documents said.

Headswift told police she had been drinking the night of the crash, according to court documents. She told police that Torgerson was driving the vehicle when she passed out in the passenger seat before the crash, court documents said.

She reported that she never saw the pedestrian and thought they hit a pole or something else, court documents said.

When she woke up after the crash, she saw Torgerson running away, she told police. She initially didn't remember moving to the driver side of the vehicle after the crash, according to court documents.


Headswift told police she and Torgerson were "friends with benefits," according to court documents. She said she tried to “take the DUI” for Torgerson because she “cared about him, but was not willing to take the blame for the death the crash caused,” according to court documents.

Headswift still faces the hindering charge, but it has been elevated to a Class C felony.

Torgerson, a Fargo resident, told police he was drinking the night of the crash. He claimed Headswift was driving and that he left on foot after the crash, court documents stated.

Torgerson was not booked into Cass County Jail as of Friday. Court records did not list an attorney for him.

Police investigate crash
Fargo police blocked off a stretch of 42nd Street South from Ninth Avenue to 11th Avenue after a crash killed a pedestrian Sept. 11. WDAY photo

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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