On March 10th in St. Paul, Minnesota, a search warrant was filed in Ramsey County District Court against renowned Twin Cities attorney, Peter H. Berge who hit a red Mini Cooper on Sixth Street near the entrance to Interstate 94. Police believe the collision was shortly before hit and killing 35-year-old senior product development engineer, Scott Spoo, at the intersection of Mississippi River Boulevard and Dayton Avenue in St. Paul while he was jogging inside a crosswalk. Spoo would later be pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center about an hour after the accident.
Distractions by his cellphone or possibly under the influence of a substance other than alcohol were suspected after Berge struggled with field sobriety tests at the scene of the fatal crash around 4:40pm. Some fellow traffic ongoers had seen Berge driving erratically and swerving prior to the second accident. Blood was drawn for drug testing, but police are not expected to have results for months. A drug-recognition officer at the scene wrote in a search warrant that Peter H. Berge, 60, appeared “to be under the influence of one or more substances and is unsafe to drive a motor vehicle.”
Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman, said officers routinely ask people questions after crashes to determine if they have any medical problems that would interfere with field sobriety tests. Berge told an officer after the crash that he had “no physical defects, had not taken any medications or illicit substances, and had not consumed alcohol,” according to a search warrant affidavit.
The driver of the Mini Cooper had to flag Berge down to alert him that he struck the vehicle and to pull over to a safe location to exchange insurance information. During the insurance exchange, Berge also admitted to the driver of the Mini Cooper he had also struck a mailbox two weeks prior.
The search warrant application is seeking information as to whether Berge received any calls or text messages from his iPhone around the time of the fatal crash. During this search warrant, police will be searching for the event recorder, (better known as black-box) from attorney Berge’s car.
A week following the collision that cost Scott Spoo his life, friends said Berge had been diagnosed with malignant brain tumors. Berge’s oncologist recommended an aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy. However, longtime friend does not believe that any medical issues contributed to either of Peter’s crashes that day.