AL man accused in fatal crash asks for lower bail

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Nathan Paul Brooks

Nathan Paul Brooks

ALBERT LEA — The Albert Lea man charged in connection with a fatal crash in April east of Hollandale requested a lower bail and placement in a treatment program Monday in Freeborn County District Court.

Nathan Paul Brooks, 27, faces charges of criminal vehicular homicide and gross misdemeanor driving after cancellation in the April 16 crash that killed Alex Dylan Tapp, 30, of Austin.

Attorney Michael Ryan requested Brooks be released to Teen Challenge, which, according to its website, “offers Christ-centered, faith-based solutions to youth, adults and families who struggle with life-controlling problems.”

Email newsletter signup

Ryan suggested conditional bond be set at $10,000, or Brooks be released on his own recognizance.

He said Brooks has behaved well in jail, noting Brooks was told by his wife that he needs to complete treatment before he returns home.

Court documents allege Brooks had been drinking alcohol at a bonfire with about eight other people, and had reportedly been driving in doughnuts in the nearby pasture where Tapp was struck and killed.

A witness identified Brooks as having driven the Suburban that killed Tapp, noting Brooks had been “messing around” with it, according to the court file.

When Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived that night, they reportedly found Tapp lying approximately 40 feet from the bonfire area. He had reportedly been struck by a 2000 Chevy Suburban, and was pronounced dead at the scene with severe head, facial and chest injuries.

Efforts to reach Brooks that night on his cellphone were unsuccessful, and he turned himself in on the charges the next afternoon.

In an interview with authorities, Brooks reportedly denied trying to evade law enforcement and that he had been driving carelessly. He reportedly alerted others, and they called 911 and began CPR. He stated when the first responders arrived, he showed some in, and at one point he was on the phone with 911 when the others conducted CPR.

Brooks reportedly admitted to not making contact with law enforcement to give a statement before he left the bonfire area, and said he did not hear deputies in the house or he would have talked to them.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker argued conditional bail not be lowered because of the seriousness of the charges and Brooks’ history of violations.

Walker cited a bond study, which noted Brooks’ history of failing to appear at court appearances, probation violations and warrants issued in his name.

He said the bond study noted Brooks seemed disconnected to the severity of the charges, and seemed to have little insight on behavior changes he needs to make.

District Court Judge Ross Leuning kept conditional bail at $40,000, noting his belief that was the most generous offer Brooks could receive.

A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 11.

If convicted of criminal vehicular homicide, Brooks faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam