Set free, no charges soon against St. Paul driver allegedly impaired, on phone when runner killed

The St. Paul motorist suspected of driving while impaired and distracted by his cellphone when he fatally struck a runner was released from the Ramsey County jail Friday with charges still pending.A decision on whether to charge Peter H. Berge, 60, in the...

Set free, no charges soon against St. Paul driver allegedly impaired, on phone when runner killed

The St. Paul motorist suspected of driving while impaired and distracted by his cellphone when he fatally struck a runner was released from the Ramsey County jail Friday with charges still pending.

A decision on whether to charge Peter H. Berge, 60, in the death Wednesday of Scott A. Spoo, is months away as investigators await results of toxicology tests on the driver, a spokesman for the Hennepin County attorney's office said Friday afternoon.

The case is being moved to the neighboring county because Berge is a past supporter and contributor to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi's campaign committee.

Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the Hennepin County attorney's office, said that once the toxicology "testing is complete, we will be in a position to make a charging decision." Laszewski said getting those results "is expected to take several months."

Numerous messages were left Friday with Berge seeking his response to the allegations.

Berge, of St. Paul, was driving early Wednesday evening on Mississippi River Boulevard when he struck Scott A. Spoo, 35, of Woodbury, an avid runner and cyclist who was in the crosswalk at Dayton Avenue, police said. Spoo died at the scene. . Scott Spoo

Along with possibly being impaired by either drugs or alcohol, Berge also may have been distracted by his cellphone, according to police.

Berge was arrested soon after the incident and then released from jail about 9:20 a.m. Friday as investigators continue their work.

Berge, an attorney, is the ethics chairman for the Hennepin County Bar Association. He also was web director for Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, a nonprofit established by the Minnesota State Bar Association that develops various educational services for lawyers. A staff member at Continuing Legal Education said Thursday he left that job in recent weeks.

Spoo, a 3M engineer in the stationery and office division, competed in various 5-kilometer road races and was well known among cyclists.

A work colleague said Spoo was active in improving bike commuting for 3M employees, mentoring new bike commuters. He participated in bike-to-work events and cycled competitively.

Spoo's traffic-related death is the first for a pedestrian in St. Paul this year. Last year, four pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS