UPDATE: Deputy charged in fatal Fergus Falls crash on Fentanyl at the time of the crash

(ap newsroom)
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 11:59 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - UPDATE: The deputy charged in a fatal crash in Fergus Falls was found to have Fentanyl in his system at the time of the crash.

Deputy Kelly Backman initially refused to give a blood sample. A later sample indicated he had Fentanyl in his system at 3 times the therapeutic range when he was operating his squad car.

Fergus Falls Police found some discrepancies during Backman’s work as a narcotics investigator. They found two incidents where Backman reported drug paraphernalia on a suspect, but the paraphernalia was never logged as evidence.

Officers searched Backman’s desk and lockers, finding paraphernalia that may match the missing evidence. However, court documents say their investigation was inconclusive.

Charges have been filed against Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Backman for one count of misconduct by a public officer and one count of fourth-degree DWI involving a high-speed chase.

Court documents say on October 2nd, Otter Tail County deputies were involved in an undercover operation at arrest 30-year-old Cody James Freitag on several outstanding felony warrants. Documents say deputies Kelly Backman and Michael Wing tried arresting Freitag at a gas station near the 1200 block of N. Union Ave. in Fergus Falls, but Freitag hit Deputy Wing’s squad car, jumped the curb, and drove through the grass before accelerating at high speeds. Documents say Freitag later failed to yield at the stop sign at Union Avenue striking a 2007 Toyota Camry.

Backman continued to pursuit Freitag, and that is when Freitag crashed into another vehicle.

The crash killed 72-year-old Steven Christianson and his wife 71-year-old Diane Christianson. The autopsy of Steven revealed significant internal injuries, including multiple broken ribs, a severed spinal column and significant lacerations to the heart. Diane’s autopsy revealed broken ribs, lacerations to the lung and heart, as well as multiple skull fractures.

30-year-old Cody James Freitag is charged with four felonies, including two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of fleeing a police officer.

Copyright 2021 KVLY. All rights reserved.