Weather Forecast


UPDATE: 81-year-old man facing charges after hitting 3 people with car

A Waubun man is facing criminal vehicular operation and driving after cancellation charges after running over three pedestrians in the Walmart parking lot Saturday afternoon.

According to Detroit Lakes Police, Charles Irwin Hanson, 81, was waiting for a parking spot to open when he hit three pedestrians who were all transported to Essentia Health St. Mary's with incapacitating but non-life threatening injuries.

The accident that was reported around 2:20 p.m. began with Hanson backing into a southbound vehicle, driven by Christine Marie Runquist, 48, of Deerwood, before accelerating southbound toward the store's front doors.

Hanson "almost hit the Walmart store while turning northbound," according to the accident report.

Pedestrian Jeri Leigh Fjelstad, 54, of Waubun, was thrown between two vehicles when she was run over by Hanson, authorities said.

The other two pedestrians who were injured were identified as Caroline Kay Gerving, 65, of Erskine, Minn. and Linda Marie Emerson, 64, of Coon Rapids, Minn.

Hanson told police his accelerator became stuck and he was unable to stop.

Hanson was arrested pending charges of criminal vehicular operation and driving after cancellation.

"His driving record reflects a number of administrative actions dating back to 2002, where he was required to submit to re-examination by physicians, eye doctors and the department of vehicle services' examiners," Police Chief Kel Keena said.

Hanson has also had prior arrests for driving without a license, where it was suspended, canceled or withdrawn, Keena added.

The injured pedestrians were all transported by ambulance to Essentia Health St. Mary's. Hospital personnel said Monday that Fjelstad and Emerson are listed in stable condition, while Gerving was treated and released.

Hanson made his first appearance Monday in Becker County District Court. He has been charged with three serious felony counts of criminal vehicular operation - substantial bodily harm, and one misdemeanor count of driving after cancellation.

Hanson was released on $10,000 bail pending his next court appearance, at a Jan. 18 Rule 8 hearing.

Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes contributed information for this story.