Hastings man facing felony charges in fatal crash

Authorities arrested Anthony Pingel after a December 12 crash which killed two people.
Authorities arrested Anthony Pingel after a December 12 crash which killed two people.(Adams County Jail)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 11:03 AM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - A Hastings man is facing two charges in the death of two teenagers following a Dec. 12 car accident just east of Hastings.

According to Adams County Court records, Anthony Pingel, 32, is charged with two counts of felony motor vehicle homicide- DUI.

The two teens who were killed in the crash were Victoria Fleming, 16, of Superior and Tristen Owens, 18, of Hastings.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office identified Fleming as one of two killed in the crash. Late last week, the sheriff’s office still had not named the second victim, although a funeral home announcement identified him as Tristen Owens, 18, of Hastings.

Adams County Attorney Donna Fegler-Daiss said investigators used dental records to identify Fleming, but said similar records for the other victim were inconclusive. Authorities are using other medical records in an attempt to get a positive identification. Owens death has since been confirmed in the court documents.

Two others were injured in the vehicle carrying the victims. They were taken to Mary Lanning Healthcare for treatment.

The accident was reported about 12:30 a.m. Dec. 12 at the intersection of 12th Street and Blaine Avenue. The sheriff’s office said a car traveling northbound on Blaine struck the vehicle carrying the crash victims.

The sheriff’s spokesman said the vehicle carrying the victims was fully engulfed in fire with occupants still inside when emergency workers arrived at the scene.

According to the arrest affidavit, when deputies arrived on scene, they observed a silver Jeep, registered to Pingel, just east of the engulfed pickup with extensive front end damage.

One of the deputies notified the other that they smelled the odor of alcohol coming from Pingel.

While one started conducting the accident investigation, the other deputy focused on Pingel, where he observed him to have red bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and failed to answer questions correctly.

The arrest affidavit goes on to say the officer observed Pingel to be “very clumsy” and “was having trouble trying to walk” to the medical service unit. Once inside, it goes on to say “Pingel stumbled around until laying down on the stretcher.”

Following discussion with other officers on scene, it appeared as if the Jeep registered to Pingel had run the stop sign on Blaine, striking the Dodge Ram carrying the four passengers inside.

The resulting accident caused the Ram to enter the northeast ditch landing on its passenger side. The accident and ensuing vehicle fire resulted in the deaths of two of the occupants.

Preliminary interviews at the scene with the driver of the Ram and several AGP employees who responded to the scene from plant nearby placed Pingel “walking near or away from his damaged Jeep shortly after the accident.”

Once Pingel was taken to Mary Lanning Healthcare, the deputy read him the Post Arrest Chemical Test Advisement Form. When asked if he understood what was being read to him, he stated that he refused to have his blood drawn, according to the report.

A search warrant to obtain his blood was filed and returned. He then was asked again to submit to test, where he once again refused.

Pingel was arrested after the crash with his bond was set at 10% of $250,000.

He is expected to be back in court for his arraignment on the two felony charges at 9 a.m. on January 6, 2022.

If convicted, he could get up to 20 years in prison on each charge.

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