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Trial opens in fatal accident

Mohammed Al-Naseer was asleep at the wheel when his car struck and killed Kane Thomson as Thomson worked to change a flat tire on U.S.

Mohammed Al-Naseer was asleep at the wheel when his car struck and killed Kane Thomson as Thomson worked to change a flat tire on U.S. Highway 10 in June.

That's what Al-Naseer's attorney, Richard Varriano, told jurors during the start of Al-Naseer's trial Tuesday in Clay County District Court.

Al-Naseer, 33, faces two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

The charges accuse him of causing Thomson's death as the result of driving in a grossly negligent manner the night of June 16.

He is also accused of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.


Varriano said Al-Naseer had been driving on Highway 10 for about two hours when he fell asleep near Glyndon, Minn., where the crash occurred.

Varriano said his client woke up after the collision and did not realize something had happened until he made a stop in Glyndon.

Varriano said at that time Al-Naseer noticed damage to his car and concluded it was caused by someone backing into his vehicle while it was parked in Cass Lake, Minn., which he had left earlier that night to drive to his home in Fargo.

Chief Assistant Clay County Attorney Ken Kohler painted a different picture of that night.

He told jurors testimony would show Thomson was well out of the traffic lanes and had all four flashers going on his car as he worked to fix a flat tire.

Kohler said Thomson had secured four of five lug nuts on the spare wheel "when his world ends."

Kohler said the collision knocked Thomson out of his shoes and caused extensive damage to Al-Naseer's car, creating a debris field that spread 100 feet along the highway.

He said Al-Naseer continued down the highway following the collision with no working headlights. Kohler said a friend of Thomson who was helping him fix the flat tire never saw Al-Naseer's break lights come on following the collision.


Kohler said when an officer encountered Al-Naseer's car a short while after the incident and then questioned him, Al-Naseer told the officer he might have struck something a few miles back.

In a subsequent interview, Al-Naseer denied making the statement, Kohler said.

Thomson, 26, formerly of Fargo, was residing in Minnetonka, Minn., at the time of his death. Kohler said Thomson and a friend spent the night watching car races and were leaving the speedway when they had the flat tire.

Varriano said Al-Naseer denies he ever told officers he struck something with his car that night.

"The only statements he really made were: 'I don't know,''' Varriano said.

"He (Al-Naseer) didn't see the flashing lights," Varriano said. "He didn't see Mr. Thomson. He fell asleep."

Readers can reach Moorhead Bureau Chief Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

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 dolson@forumcomm.com.
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