The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a truck driver from Reno, Nev., will face charges in the 2011 hit-and-run that seriously injured a man who was riding a bicycle on U.S. 52 in Rochester.
Terry Raye Dye, 56, was originally charged with criminal vehicular homicide or operation in May 2012, after an investigation revealed he was behind the wheel of the semi-trailer that struck the victim.
There was no doubt that Dye was driving the truck that hit the man and that he failed to stop after the collision, court documents say; at issue was whether Dye knew he'd hit a person.
A motion to dismiss the charge was granted by District Judge Joseph Chase in December, based on a lack of probable cause that Dye knew he'd hit a person. Olmsted County attorneys and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson submitted the appeal in January.
After Monday's reversal, the case is back in Olmsted County District Court.
The complaint details the following allegations against Dye:
At around 1 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2011, highway surveillance video shows a semi-trailer driven by Dye flashing its headlights at a man riding a bicycle northbound on U.S. 52 just north of U.S. 14 East.
The truck did not attempt to switch lanes, as other vehicles had done to go around the bicycle. It hit the bicycle from behind, sending the bicyclist flying through the air.
The victim was found lying between the guard rail and sound barrier just before the Sixth Street Southwest exit on U.S. 52.
The truck continued northbound, leaving the scene of the collision. Parts of the vehicle, including fiberglass bumper parts, a fog light and other metal parts were later found nearby.
The Missouri State Patrol located Dye and the truck at a truck stop on Sept. 23; they discovered substantial damage to the right front of the vehicle that had been covered in clear tape, and bound with wire. Zip ties and a tie-down strap were also used to secure the hood.
Pink paint also appeared to be transferred to the truck, which matched the color of the bike the victim was riding at the time of the crash.
Dye told authorities he had hit a deer in Wisconsin at 11 p.m. on Sept. 16, and his trucking records show that he did not report any crash happening in Minnesota on Sept. 17.
Tracking data from the trucking company showed that Dye was in Rochester, however, and driving on U.S. 52 at the time of the crash, according to the complaint.
In its ruling, the Appeals Court said the district court had improperly weighed the credibility of the statements that Dye made after hitting the man. "...Such an inaccuracy could be a deliberate falsification; and a deliberate exculpatory falsification may imply guilty knowledge."
In addition, the court ruled, "the district court fails to address evidence that Dye inexplicably left Hwy. 52 for a period of time immediately after his truck struck (the victim). A jury could find that this evidence shows that Dye intentionally left the scene of the crash, implying knowledge that he struck a person."
It continues by recognizing the case is "unusual, involving a bicyclist traveling in the middle of the night in the center lane of a busy highway, and we express no opinion as to whether the state will ultimately be successful in proving Dye's guilt."
The victim suffered extensive injuries, including head lacerations, crushed vertebrae, hip and shoulder blade fractures, and a punctured lung. He also suffered the loss of his spleen and part of his kidneys.
The next court appearance for Dye has not been set.