MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A St. Paul lawyer who fatally hit a pedestrian in February of 2017 wasn’t on his cell phone and wasn’t grossly negligent, so he won’t face felony charges in the incident.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said Wednesday Peter Berge will not be charged in the death of Scott Spoo. An investigation shows Berge had no chemicals or alcohol in his system when he hit Spoo on Feb. 22, 2017, near the area of Mississippi River Boulevard and Dayton Avenue in St. Paul.
Prosecutors say the investigation showed Berge was driving about 30 miles per hour in a zone where the speed limit was 25. Authorities say he drifted into oncoming traffic, but corrected back into his own lane.
A search of his cell phone showed he hadn’t been on it for at least 13 minutes before the incident. He immediately stopped after hitting Spoo and did field sobriety tests. He failed tests that required balance.
Authorities say two days after the incident, Berge went to the hospital and an MRI revealed he had a massive brain tumor.
“This is a tragic and sad case,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Spoo’s family. Had Mr. Berge been drinking or if he had fled the scene we could have charged him with criminal vehicular homicide. That was not the case. There was no evidence of gross negligence, either.”
Brian Spoo, the victim’s brother, told WCCO his family “is disappointed in the decision and are taking time to process the decision.”