(FOX 9) - A 39-year-old Lakeville man has been arrested, accused of hitting two tow truck drivers with a car and fleeing the scene, the Minnesota State Patrol said Wednesday.
According to the State Patrol's report, two tow truck operators were working to remove a vehicle from the center median of northbound Interstate 35 in Webster Township, Rice County, at 1:53 a.m. Monday when a vehicle drove by, hitting the tow truck operators.
Both tow truck operators suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Charges show Marlon Fleming, of Lakeville, has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular operation. His vehicle was identified as a Lincoln MKZ on Tuesday.
The crash is still under investigation, the State Patrol says.
How troopers made an arrest
In the criminal complaint filed against Fleming, investigators say it was Fleming's father that helped expedite an arrest.
After the crash, troopers collected evidence at the scene – including a side mirror, door handles, and the bezel for the keypad entry system. From the parts, investigators were able to determine the striking vehicle had been a Lincoln MKZ.
The next day, after the tow truck crash made the news, police got a tip from Fleming's father. The charges state:
Trooper Ignaszewski spoke to Mr. Fleming [the father] who stated that on May 15, 2022, he returned home at approximately 11:30 p.m. and noticed the MKZ was gone. Mr. Fleming then called [Marlon Fleming] and told him to bring the vehicle home. Mr. Fleming stated that Defendant was drunk and belligerent at the time of the phone call. Mr. Fleming stated [Marlon Fleming] arrived home at 1:30 a.m. and Mr. Fleming noticed the damaged to the MKZ. [Marlon Fleming] told Mr. Fleming that he was texting and sideswiped a car. Mr. Fleming called Lakeville Police and [Marlon Fleming] was arrested.
Upon seeing the damage to the MKZ, police were able to determine the parts found at the scene matched the Flemings' vehicle. Troopers say the door handle still had blue jean strands hanging from it.
When police arrested Fleming, they say he was intoxicated. He was taken to the hospital to be medically cleared to be brought in, which is protocol. At the hospital, troopers say Fleming told them: "I will say this though, I did not hit those people, I did not. Maybe I sideswiped the truck or the trailer, but the people no, I did not do that at all."
According to the charges, Fleming later added: "My father he told me about that story today, about two guys getting hit on 35W [sic], and I was like no that was not me, and then just kinda thinking about it, I was like, oh my god, that probably was me, and I felt like shit."
After being cleared by the hospital, troopers say Fleming made one more comment while being taken to jail: "When I was on my phone, I looked up, that’s when I saw you and I kinda swerved over, I apologize about that."