Man charged in Hwy. 65 accident in Athens Township

A Coon Rapids man is facing four charges stemming for a motor vehicle accident on Saturday, Dec. 8, in Athens Township, that left a man with serious injuries.

Nicholas David James, 30, was charged in Isanti County District Court on Tuesday, Dec. 11 before Judge James Dehn with the following:

• Felony criminal vehicular homicide or operation-operate vehicle with negligence under influence of a controlled substance.

• Gross Misdemeanor traffic DWI-operate motor vehicle under influence of controlled substance.

• Misdemeanor Reckless or Careless Driving.

• Misdemeanor Driving after Revocation.

Judge Dehn set bail at $15,000 without conditions or $5,000 with conditions and James is due back in court on Jan. 2.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Dec. 8, at 8:08 p.m., Trooper Scott Orpen was dispatched to a motor vehicle accident at the corner of Hwy. 65 and Co. Rd. 9 in Athens Township.

A 2006 Dodge pickup driven by James had drifted from the left hand lane into the right hand lane and made contact with another motor vehicle driven by Scott William McKinney causing his vehicle to lose control and roll over into the center median. McKinney sustained a laceration to his head and face area and was taken by ambulance to Cambridge Medical Center.

Trooper Orpen noticed James had very slow motor movements and very slow lethargic speech, and had him perform some field sobriety tests.

A witness to the crash told Trooper Orpen that they observed the Dodge pickup weaving before the crash occurred and saw the pickup drift from the left lane into the right lane and hit McKinney’s vehicle.

Prior to the towing of James’ vehicle, a search revealed a glass pipe in the center console that smelled of burnt marijuana.

James was brought to Cambridge Medical Center where a blood draw was performed. While waiting for the laboratory technician, James admitted to Trooper Orpen that the blood test would reveal THC and his medications. The blood sample was sent to the BCA for analysis.

Court records show James has a prior conviction for DWI in Anoka County from February 2012 and was driving with a revoked license.