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21st birthday party leads to seven charges

Fairfax man faces felony fleeing peace officer count

NEW ULM — A 21-year-old Fairfax man who admitted to drinking at four local establishments on his 21st birthday on Jan. 25, 2021, faces seven charges in Brown County District Court.

Charges filed Jan. 20, 2022 against Shayne D. Buwalda, 305 1st St. N.E., Fairfax included felony fleeing a peace officer, three counts of 4th-degree misdemeanor DWI, two counts of collision with unattended vehicle failure to notify victim or police, reckless driving and careless driving. A court appearance was set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 15, 2022.

According to court documents, Brown County Deputy Justin Bauer was southbound on Broadway at 9:03 p.m. Jan. 25, 2021 when he saw a northbound vehicle with a headlight out, 4-way flashers on, traveling at a high rate of speed, with heavy front end damage and sparks flying from the car.

At the same time, dispatch radioed it received a hit and run complaint near 10th South and Minnesota.

Bauer caught up to the vehicle near 16th North, turned on his emergency lights and estimated his speed at 60 mph. The suspect vehicle hit a curb at 19th North and continued on the curb and snowbanks along the road shoulder, braking and accelerating, coming to a slow roll near 20th North. The car was smoking when it came to a stop.

The driver was identified as Buwalda. Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy Kitzberger assisted and saw an open alcoholic beverage container in the front seat and two small baggies with cut corners.

Buwalda was placed in the rear seat of a squad car. He said it was his 21st birthday and he’d been drinking and stopped at Applebee’s, Plaza Garibaldi, the Lamplighter, and the B & L Bar. Buwalda admitted to drinking three beers and some tequila shots and thought he was good enough to drive home, but obviously was not.

In addition, Buwalda said he didn’t remember hitting anything with his vehicle, had no idea how his vehicle was damaged, but obviously hit something. He denied using marijuana and said he had no idea how a pipe got in his front pocket.

Buwalda agreed to provide a preliminary breath test that resulted in a .151 reading. At the Brown County Jail, a urine sample was administered at 10:49 p.m. The urine kit was sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for lab analysis.

Deputies completed an inventory/impound search of the vehicle and found another drug paraphernalia pipe in the front middle console. The pipe appeared to be loaded with a burnt, green leafy substance and smelled of marijuana.

A March 1, 2021 BCA toxicology report indicated Buwalda’s blood alcohol concentration was .132.

Law enforcement talked with the owner of the vehicle that was hit and were told the car was legally parked in front of his residence on Minnesota Street facing south. The witness said the vehicle appeared to have been hit in the rear driver’s side by a vehicle traveling at a very high rate of speed. Damage was moderate and caused the vehicle to have to be towed.

Crash debris including pieces from a white vehicle covered the street where the vehicle was parked. One piece of the white debris was lodged into the rear driver’s side wheel well of the witness’ vehicle.

Officers collected a piece of the debris from the street and compared it to Buwalda’s vehicle. It appeared to match. The witness said he didn’t see the crash but heard it from inside his house.

Police also learned a vehicle across the street from the first witness’s vehicle was also hit while legally parked, facing north. Damage was minor to the driver’s side door.

The second witness, who owned the vehicle, said he was inside when a loud crash was heard and a white, four-door vehicle with damage was seen leaving the scene after it hit the first witness’s vehicle, then hit the second vehicle.

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