When authorities arrived at the scene of a fatal crash in Floodwood Township, Minn., earlier this month, they found a pickup truck split in half. It had been “catastrophically damaged” after striking a tree, according to a criminal complaint filed in St. Louis County District Court.
The driver of the truck, Darren Tenney, 23, of New Richmond, Wis., has been charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide-operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration 0.08 percent or more. Tenney’s blood draw showed he had a blood-alcohol concentration of .117, according to the criminal complaint.
Killed in the Sept. 9 crash were passengers Madison “Madi” Warren, of Oakdale, and Joseph “Joey” Trowbridge, of Woodbury, both 23. Authorities learned of the crash, which occurred around 2:45 a.m. on a curve on County Road 8 about 45 miles west of Duluth after receiving an automated 911 call from an iPhone stating that the owner had been in a severe crash.
Tenney, driving a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, appeared to have missed the curve and hit a tree; the truck landed in a ditch, according to the complaint. “Based on the violent nature of the way the truck was mangled, it appeared to have been traveling at a very high rate of speed,” the complaint states.
Trowbridge and Warren were both found dead at the scene. Trowbridge had been ejected from the truck, and authorities found Warren “pinned in the back part of the cab of the truck,” according to the complaint.
Deputies found Tenney partially ejected from the driver’s side of the front windshield with an obvious head injury, according to the criminal complaint. The lower half of his body was pinned under the steering column.
A deputy who spoke to Tenney noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from him and said his speech was “slurred and thick,” the complaint states. “There were numerous Busch Light beer cans within the wreckage. (Tenney) vacillated between saying there were three and four people in the truck.”
Tenney had to be airlifted to St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, according to the St. Louis County sheriff’s office.
The three were friends and graduated together from Mahtomedi High School in 2018, family members said.
A warrant was issued for Tenney’s arrest, and he was booked into the St. Louis County Jail at 12:11 a.m. Wednesday, according to the jail roster. His first court appearance was set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors have asked that Tenney’s bail be set at $200,000. According to court documents, Tenney has an open-bottle conviction from 2018 and two minor traffic offenses.
Tenney’s attorney, Eric Olson, has requested that Tenney be released without cash bail, according to court documents. Tenney “was not held in custody after receiving hospital care and has been living with his parents in Hugo for more than two weeks,” Olson wrote in a bail memorandum.
Olson also noted that, upon learning that a warrant was issued, Tenney surrendered himself to law enforcement on the same day.
Tenney faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the charges.