Search warrant information sheds light on moments prior to fatal crash on I-94

A front-seat passenger in the SUV, 43-year-old Kelli Hagerott, died at the scene and Timothy Hagerott and two passengers, a 14-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl, were taken to Sanford Medical

Hagerott go fund me photo.PNG
A photograph of the Hagerott family from an online fundraiser set up after Kelli Hagerott, 43, was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 94 near Tower City, North Dakota.
Family photo via GoFundMe
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TOWER CITY, N.D. — Search warrant information filed in Cass County District Court provides information about what occurred moments before an SUV carrying a Bismarck family crashed into a tow truck that had broken down in a driving lane of Interstate 94 near Tower City on Jan. 22.

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, an SUV driven by Timothy Hagerott of Bismarck rear-ended a broken down tow truck about 9 p.m. that night and both vehicles came to rest in the north ditch about 2 miles east of Tower City.

A front-seat passenger in the SUV, 43-year-old Kelli Hagerott, died at the scene and Timothy Hagerott and two passengers, a 14-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl, were taken to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo to be treated for serious injuries, the patrol said following the crash.

Mario Butler, 43, had left the tow truck parked in the right lane of westbound I-94 because he had mechanical problems, according to the patrol.

In a declaration for a search warrant filed in Cass County District Court, a highway patrol trooper asked the court for a search warrant to obtain cellular communications data pertaining to a cell phone operated by Timothy Hagerott.


According to the document:

The tow truck was parked and unoccupied in the right lane of I-94 westbound and it was unknown what, if any, emergency lights were activated on the disabled truck.

At an interview in the hospital, Timothy Hagerott said that prior to the impact he heard/felt his phone vibrate and he looked down "for a second" to see what the notification was for.

When he looked up, the tow truck was directly in front of him, according to the document, which said there was no evidence at the scene of braking having occurred.

The family was traveling from Monticello, Minn., to Bismarck when the crash occurred, according to the document, which sought information pertaining to Hagerott's phone use from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Jan. 22.

A subsequent document filed with the court states that data from the phone, including call records, text messages, emails or any evidence of phone use during the noted time frame, had been secured. Details of what that data contains has not been released.

At the time of the incident there was scattered ice in the roadway in that area and roads were not covered in snow at the time of the crash, a patrol official said.

After the tow truck broke down, Butler, of Minot, called another tow truck, but a passing motorist gave him a ride away from the scene before the other tow truck arrived, leaving the broken-down tow truck in the driving lane, the patrol said.


According to the patrol, the crash remains under investigation. No charges have been filed and the patrol has said all aspects of the crash are being investigated.

As of Monday, Feb. 7, no information was available on the conditions of Timothy Hagerott or the two girls.

Attempts to reach Hagerott for comment were not successful.

All four occupants in the Yukon were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, according to the patrol.

Family and friends of the Hagerott family have set up a GoFundMe page which by Monday afternoon had raised more than $80,000 to help the Hagerott family. The fundraising page can be found at .

Reporter April Baumgarten contributed to this report.

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
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