Jury convicts Savage man in fatal car crash

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

A Hennepin County District Court jury convicted a Savage man in a car crash that killed 28-year-old Travis John Krautkremer, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Christopher Michael Wendt, 34, was convicted on Thursday of criminal vehicular homicide after the jury deliberated for about two hours. He will be sentenced on December 20 and is expected to receive 48 months in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, on July 12, 2017, Minnesota State Patrol officers responded to a report of a car crash in the area of Interstate 494 and Highway 169 where they found a white Ford pickup truck that had flipped onto its roof and a white Chevy Camaro, with significant rear end damage. The driver of the Camaro was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers spoke to a witness who said she was traveling southbound on 169 when she saw a Camaro on the right side of the road either stopped or going very slow. Then she saw a Ford truck “run over” the Camaro and the truck rolled over, according to the complaint and court testimony.

Officers saw Wendt, the driver of the truck, lying on the grass on the side of the freeway and he appeared to be sleeping. When questioned, he said he was in the right lane heading southbound on Highway 169 when he looked over his shoulder to change lanes and then realized he had drifted into the shoulder. Wendt said that he did not see the Camaro in time to react.

He denied being on any medications at the time of the crash, but officers noticed several signs of impairment, including watery, bloodshot eyes and constricted pupils. One officer noted that Wendt would mumble and repeat questions. When officers took a blood sample from him, he tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine.