Former Hermantown Police Chief, Sons Among Injured In Hit-And-Run; Suspect Charged

Complaint: Suspect Rodney Scandin Jr. of Two Harbors drank two beers and got distracted before crash.

DULUTH, Minn. – A Two Harbors man was charged in St. Louis County Court Tuesday after a hit-and-run in Midway Township Friday that seriously injured five people — one of them critically.

Rodney Scandin

Suspect Rodney Scandin

Rodney Scandin Jr., 35, of Two Harbors is charged with five felonies and a misdemeanor, including Criminal Vehicular Operation leading to bodily harm while also leaving the scene and not reporting the crash with the Perich family.

Thomas and Angela Perich.

30-year-old Thomas and 29-year-old Angela Perich, a Florida couple who just married two years ago, were on a long-awaited trip to see family in Duluth, including Thomas’ father Dan Perich — a former Hermantown chief of police who retired in 2003.

But that trip turned into a hit-and-run nightmare Friday evening while coming back from a visit to Lake Superior. In a statement to FOX 21, Thomas’s sister Stacy Bergstedt said in part:

“2020 continues to be a rollercoaster for us all and has taken a very scary turn for our family.  On top of COVID-19, the accident our family endured has turned our family’s world upside down.”

Thomas, his father, brother Michael, Michael’s dog Mandu and Angela were struck from behind in their Subaru by Scandin’s Ford F-150 pickup truck while sitting still on Midway Road waiting to turn onto Stark Road, according to court documents.

Perich Family Subaru

Scandin told police he had left a golf course where he had drank two beers and was reaching for his cell phone when his pickup truck slammed into the back of the Subaru, pushing it into the oncoming lane where it was hit by a second pick-up truck, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint adds Scandin said he took off from the scene because he “was scared.” He would eventually turn himself in to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office after seeing media reports with a photo of his truck.

Dan, who was driving the Perich family, suffered three broken ribs, bruised lungs and a concussion.

Michael suffered a broken nose and teeth, a concussion, and a severe laceration on his leg. His dog Mandu was traumatized but OK.

Angela suffered a broken collarbone and bruised lung.

But for Thomas, who was sitting in the passenger seat, his injuries are the most serious — a shattered pelvis and severe internal bleeding.

He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center where he remained Tuesday night.

Before taking off, Bergstedt said Thomas called Angela to say “I love you.”  And now, due to COVID-19, Angela can’t go see him at the hospital.

Bergstedt continued in her statement:

“Dan and Michael are at home beginning their journey to recovery with family close by their side. Angela is in the Cities, with the rest of the family, anxiously waiting to be able to hear Thomas’ voice and see his face again. We have a very long road ahead of us.”

Thomas faces months of complete immobilization at a rehab facility followed by extensive physical therapy before he can return home to Florida. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the family’s recovery. As of Tuesday night, they raised over $20,000.

Meanwhile, Scandin is facing up to 19 years in prison if convicted of all six charges against him.

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