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Driver in Moorhead crash that killed toddler pleads not guilty

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MOORHEAD – A Sabin man, who authorities say was driving despite having his driver’s license cancelled, pleaded not guilty Thursday, Aug. 9, to charges of criminal vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter in the death of a 2-year-old boy.

The driver, Jeremy James Sagvold, 42, requested a jury trial, according to Clay County District Court records. A date for his next court appearance has not been set.

The two felony charges against Sagvold each carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

The crash happened midday Jan. 6, and 2-year-old Zaiden David Engen Ness died the same day at Fargo’s Sanford Medical Center from his injuries, Moorhead police said.

Zaiden and his mother, Alyse Ann Engen of Breckenridge, Minn., were passengers in a Ford Escape driven by his father, Logan William Ness of Moorhead. A full-size Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Sagvold crashed into the rear of the family’s vehicle in the eastbound U.S. Highway 10 left-turn lane for 34th Street, police said.


Two other vehicles were also involved in the crash. Aside from the boy, no other motorists had injuries that required hospital treatment, authorities said.

Sagvold told police he had no memory of the crash, except that “I just remember a bang, and then a second bang.” Asked if he could have lost consciousness, he said, “I have epilepsy, so I don’t know if something happened,” according to court documents.

A crash reconstruction by the Minnesota State Patrol found that Sagvold’s truck crashed into the Ford Escape at 61 to 67 mph. The speed limit there is 45 mph.

Sagvold’s medical history showed he was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2009. Because of seizures, state records showed that he had his driving privileges suspended for a time in early 2016, court documents said.

Because he failed to have a one-year review examination and get a satisfactory physical exam report, his Minnesota driving privileges were canceled on Dec. 22, 2017, court documents said.