A Braham mother faces three charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as child endangerment, after a car crash resulted in serious injuries to her 4-year-old son, Brakkus.
Angela Marie Gutzkow, 37, was charged Oct. 24 in Isanti County District Court with two counts of felony criminal vehicular homicide or operation for operating a vehicle with neglect under the influence of alcohol; gross misdemeanor traffic DWI for operating a motor vehicle under influence of alcohol; and felony child endangerment.
Judge P. Hunter Anderson set bail at $50,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions and her next court appearance is set for Oct. 31.
Brian Giffrow, Brakkus’ father, after receiving a call from Cambridge Medical Center, learned about the accident where Gutzkow crashed her truck into a tree near Braham.
Giffrow explained he has full physical custody of Brakkus, with Gutzkow seeing him every other weekend. He said since Gutzkow was unable to have Brakkus that past weekend, she was going to have him a few days that week.
“When I first got to Cambridge Medical Center, Brakkus was just really out of it and didn’t know what was going on,” Giffrow said. “He just looked really rough.”
From Cambridge Medical Center, Brakkus was transferred to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.
Giffrow explained the doctors said Brakkus had a “blowout,” which is multiple fractures around his eye and a broken nose. Giffrow said as of now, surgery is not needed, but at any time in the next couple months, the eye is at risk of the muscles catching on the fractures. He said the hardest part of this will be keeping Brakkus on restrictions to keep it from happening.
“The doctors have told us that Brakkus’ face will never look the same again,” Brian said. “It will just be a lot of wait and see over the next few weeks.”
Brakkus was able to leave Amplatz on Oct. 24 and is recovering at home.
“We have had really great support from our family and friends, and so many have reached out to help us through their thoughts and prayers,” Giffrow said. “We’ve had people contact us and offer their support and help that don’t even know us.”
Even though Brakkus’ physical wounds are healing, Giffrow said the emotional wounds may never heal. He said this is the third case involving Gutzkow where child protection services has had to get involved.
“Even though the physical wounds are healing, we are now having some psychological issues,” Giffrow said. “We are working on having a therapist come on out. He’s also having night terrors. The other night he started screaming out, ‘Why? Why?’”
Those interested in helping with Brakkus’ recovery can make donations at any Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union under the “Brakkus Giffrow Fund” or by calling 651-291-3700.
According to records
According to the criminal complaint filed in Isanti County District Court, Deputy John Gillquist responded to the Oct. 22 crash at 4574 415th Ave. NE near Braham at 3:26 p.m. and observed a truck in the north side of the ditch that collided with a tree.
On the road leading up to the truck, Gillquist observed aggressive fishtail markings in the gravel on the roadway. Gillquist smelled alcohol from the truck and observed a spilled drink. He saw the windshield of the truck was shattered, and an impression on it that appeared to be a head.
Braham Fire was also on scene and talked with a male with blood covering his face who said he was a passenger in the vehicle along with the driver, Gutzkow and Brakkus.
Gillquist observed Brakkus crying, with blood all over his face and several parts of his face swollen.
Gutzkow told Gillquist she didn’t know why she went into the ditch and might have been talking and got distracted. Gutzkow said everyone in the truck was wearing their seat belts, and Brakkus had been in the backseat in his booster seat.
While taking with Gutzkow, Gillquist smelled alcohol on her breath and noted her eyes were bloodshot and watery, and her speech was slightly slurred.
Gutzkow told Gillquist she had three 12-ounce vodkas that day mixed with fruit punch, with her last drink around 2 p.m. While talking with Gutzkow, Brakkus and the passenger in the truck were transported to Cambridge Medical Center.
Gillquist had Gutzkow perform several field sobriety tests; and her blood alcohol content tested at 0.232. Gillquist then placed Gutzkow under arrest for driving while intoxicated.