A 21-year-old Williston woman has been charged with a felony almost exactly eight months after a fatal crash on U.S. Highway 2 west of Williston.
Khatelyn Carter was charged with negligent homicide, a class C felony and ordered held Wednesday, May 22, on $5,000 bond. Police said on Sept. 21, Carter was driving a 2018 Jeep Cherokee that crashed into the rear of a Ford Taurus that had stopped on Highway 2 to make a left turn onto 146th Drive NW.
The Ford was sent spinning into oncoming traffic, where it was hit in the passenger side by a 2011 Ford F-150 driven by 53-year-old Troy Johnson of Williston, according to an accident report from the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
Fifteen-year-old Kennedy Hansen, a Fairview student, was riding in the front seat of the Taurus and was killed in the crash. Johnson, Carter and the 17-year-old driver, who police have not named, were all injured in the crash.
Carter was traveling 72 mph just before the crash, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Northwest District Court. Police said her SUV was traveling between 61 and 67 mph at the time of the crash.
In charging documents, an NDHP trooper wrote that Carter told police she had been reaching for a smoothie and didn’t have time to react to the stopped Ford Taurus. The trooper wrote that the Taurus’ brake lights would have been visible nearly 2,000 feet away, and at Carter’s speed, she would have had approximately 18 seconds to react.
At a bond hearing Wednesday, Eric Lundberg, assistant state’s attorney for Williams County, asked for Carter’s bond to be set at $15,000. He said originally the prosecution was going to ask for $20,000 bond, but reduced its request because Carter had no criminal history.
But, he said, the serious nature of the charges required a high bond to protect the community.
“It’s not just someone that died in the area, it’s a child that died,” he said.
Jeff Nehring, Carter’s defense attorney, said Carter had cooperated fully with the police and when she found out about the warrant, she turned herself in. He argued that the allegations in the charging documents hadn’t been proven, and said the fact it took eight months for the prosecution to bring charges seemed to show the prosecution didn’t think Carter was dangerous.
Nehring asked for a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
Northwest District Judge Josh Rustad said the result of the crash was indisputable — Hansen was killed. But, he said, the length of time between the crash and when charges were filed did lend credence to Nehring’s point.
He said he wasn’t comfortable with a personal recognizance bond and ordered bond set at $5,000.
The Sept. 21 crash was part of a string of fatal crashes where five people were killed on Williams County roads in about a week.
On Sept. 19, Thomas O’Dell, 26, died in a motorcycle crash on U.S. Highway 85 north of Williston. On Sept. 23, Gilberto Gomez Jr., 24, and Rosa Aguayo, 45, were killed in a crash in nearly the same spot on Highway 2 as the crash that claimed Hansen’s life.
On Sept. 25, Wendy Newsome, 29, was killed when her car was struck by a police SUV driven by Williston Police Sgt. Dustin Bertsch. In all, 12 people were killed in crashes in Williams County in 2018.
Carter is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on June 19.
THE ISSUE Bill Linder, a Sidney resident from the neighborhood behind Western Choice Cooperative, came to city council Monday, May 20, to express his concerns about the convenience store’s upcoming renovations. Linder said he and the neighbors were worried about noise and traffic in the area with the possible truck pump expansions and overnight parking.
BACKGROUND The cooperative was built in its location before the existing neighborhood was there. As it is, the business is zoned as a community highway business and the renovation would not violate any rules. The planning is still in early stages, but tentative mock-ups have truck pumps on the north side of the building (toward the old Shopko location) and possible truck parking in the rear. Western Choice consultant Art Perdue said a 6-foot fence would be built around the back of the property.
WHAT’S NEXT A special meeting will be scheduled between Sidney City Council and Western Choice Cooperative. There is currently no scheduled start date for the construction. Perdue said his team is working closely with Sidney Fire Marshall Kale Rasmussen to ensure everything is done by the book.
The Junior High Rodeo will be taking place this weekend where five Sidney students have qualified to compete.
Participants accumulate points throughout the fall and spring that are used at state. It starts in August with long go’s and short go’s taking place in May and June.
“We welcome the community to come and watch any or all of the events,” said Kristin Larson. There will be a $5 entry fee for one day or you can buy a weekend pass for $10.
Sidney’s contestants include Drew Ellingson, Garrett Larson, Garrett Youngquist, Jerron Rau and Avery Hazen. Hazen won’t be competing as she will be on a Close Up trip to Washington, but she qualified to compete.
Ellingson participates in the light rifle chute, breakaway and chute dogging. Garrett Larson competes in light rifle chuting, breakaway, team roping, chute dogging, goat trying and ribbon roping.
Youngquist will compete in light rifle chuting, breakaway, chute dogging and goat tying. Rau is going to be competing in tie down, team roping and goat tying.
Hazen qualified to participate in barrel racing, goat tying, pole bending and ribbon roping.
“Barrel racing is my favorite because I’ve trained my horse to do it and we compete well in it. My horse, Emma, is good at it,” Hazen said.
It was after her older sister got involved in rodeo that she decided she wanted to start as well.
“I’ve been doing it since I was 10 years old, so for six years. It’s my sport,” said Hazen.
While Rau couldn’t pick a favorite event because he enjoys them all, he noted that his goat tying horse Buddy and his tiedown horse Breeze are good horses.
“I like team events. It’s more fun when there’s more people,” said Rau. He has been competing for five years and started when he was just 8 years old.
Youngquist said his favorite event to compete in with his horse Maxwell is the breakaway event.
“It’s just exciting to catch the cow,” he said.
Youngquist has been competing for four years, since he was 9 years old. He got involved because his dad used to be active in the rodeo.
Garrett Larson and his horse Fancy will be competing is the weekends events.
“It’s been a good season. I’ve been doing it since I was 5 years old. So for eight years,” he said.
Ellingson said his favorite event to compete in is chute dogging because it gets his adrenaline pumping.
“It feels good to throw down,” said Ellingson. He will be competing this weekend with his horse Gray.
“Historically, Sidney has been good at sending kids to state,” added Kristin Larson.
Catch all the rodeo fun starting Friday, May 31, the rodeo starts at 1 p.m. On June 1, events start at noon and on Sunday, June 2, events start at 9 a.m.
1 The state finals for Junior High Rodeo kick off in Sidney Friday, May 31, at 1 p.m. Volunteers are still needed by the chamber to take tickets. Go cheer on the area’s young cowboys and cowgirls at the Richland County Fair and Rodeo grounds this weekend.
2 Looking to get your hands dirty? Shoppes at Peifer’s General Store is hosting the second annual Perennial Plant Swap from 11 a.m. — 2 p.m. Perennials may be brought into the store to swap with others. There is no fee nor will people be paid for plants brought in.
3 Is your child already whining about being bored this summer? Summer Art Camp begins Monday, June 3 for the week at the MonDak Heritage Center, ages 12 and over. Cost is $50 for nonmembers and $45 for members, space is limited. Call 433-3500 for more information or to sign up.
4 On Saturday, June 1, head on out to the Sidney Country Club for the Sidney Scramble. Registration is from 7 a.m. — 9 a.m. Cost is $500 per each four-person team and includes continental breakfast, lunch and dinner. Calcutta begins at 9:30 a.m. and tournament begins at 11 a.m. For more information, call 433-1894.
5 Reyonold’s Market will have three carnival games for kids to play Friday, May 31, from 11 a.m. — 2 p.m. Spin the Wheel, Candy Roll and Bean Toss. Prizes will be awarded. There’s also a Kids Lunch Special for $2.