Charges: Driver was going 130+ mph, using Snapchat before fatal wreck in central Minnesota

An early morning crash in Sherburne County that killed one person and injured several others resulted in multiple charges for the driver who was clocked going more than 130 miles per hour (mph) after leaving a bar.

Hunter Michael Buckentine, 23, of Avon, is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and one count each of third-degree murder and gross negligence criminal vehicular operation for his alleged role in the crash. 

According to charges, on Aug. 19, around 1:11 a.m., a Minnesota State Trooper was traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 10 near County Road 8 in Becker when he observed a vehicle traveling 132 mph in the westbound lane.

The trooper turned around, but during an attempt to catch up, it kept pulling away, nearly out of sight, according to charges. It was last clocked at 116 mph before it disappeared from the trooper’s vision, according to charges.

Shortly after the chase, authorities say the trooper came across debris of glass and vehicle parts on the roadway, just east of 97th Street Southeast. As he approached, the trooper noted a female on the shoulder of the road "waving her arms frantically over her head."

The trooper then noticed a blue Chevy Cobalt in the ditch severely damaged and was told by the woman that passengers had been thrown from the vehicle.

The trooper later identified a man laying in the ditch of the driver’s side of the vehicle, face down and not moving. He would later die from his injuries. A second female was found laying in the ditch in front of the Cobalt, charges explained. 

Another vehicle, later identified as a black Infiniti Q50, was spotted approximately 200 yards west, in the north ditch, with flames beginning to come out of it, charges said. No one was located in or around the Infiniti, but it was registered to Buckentine.

The driver of the Cobalt said she was driving the speed limit prior to the crash, when the Infiniti, "came up on her so fast," that, "she saw the lights flash behind her, and she did not have any time to react." 

According to charges, the Infiniti hit its rear end, causing it to spin and roll into the ditch. She was wearing her seatbelt and was the only person left in the vehicle after it rolled, telling the trooper she found a small flashlight inside the car and climbed out the window.

Around 6 a.m., while authorities were still investigating the scene of the crash, officials located a pair of jeans with an Infiniti key fob in the field. With the assistance of a K9, they later located a black Aerosmith T-shirt on the edge of a cornfield, according to charges.

Authorities later spoke with a passenger witness that rode in the Infiniti who said that Buckentine had been with him drinking at a bar in Becker the night before. During his time at the bar, he said he remembered Buckentine drinking one shot of Apple Crown about 9:45 p.m., and one shot of Washington Apple around 11 p.m., but thought he was okay to drive them, according to charges.

The witness said they left the bar around 1 a.m., with Buckentine driving the Infiniti later involved in the crash. After making a comment about seeing a cop pass, Buckentine sped up and used his phone to take a Snapchat picture of his speed, according to the witness statement.

Following the crash airbags were deployed, and they both began running away, with Buckentine, "making suicidal comments" and saying, "he was going to kill himself because of what he had done," the witness claimed. Unable to keep up with him, they eventually lost contact.

Later on Aug. 19, Buckentine phoned Sherburne County dispatch from a location in Palmer, stating, "he had awakened wearing someone else’s clothes without his belongings," court records read.  

Authorities say he admitted to owning the Infiniti, and that he had been wearing jeans and a black Aerosmith shirt the prior evening, but, "the next thing he remembered was waking up at the Palmer baseball field wearing unfamiliar clothes," charges read.

Buckentine was found to have numerous scratches on his arms, but was unsure how he got them, according to charges. He identified his Snapchat name for law enforcement, which showed a photo of the Infiniti’s speedometer with a reading of 150 mph, with text stating "new record." 

He was then placed under arrest.