BILLINGS — Cooper Knutson Rude, who authorities allege was driving drunk and fled the scene after fatally striking a pedestrian in Billings, was charged on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Yellowstone County District Court.
Rude is accused of causing the death of 31-year-old Dorian Kevin Ogden on September 2, 2021 near the intersection of Central Avenue and Sante Fe Drive. Prosecutors allege Rude had a blood-alcohol level of 0.089 percent when he struck Ogden with a pickup truck.
Prosecutors allege that after striking the man, Rude briefly stopped and let two occupants out of the truck and drove away from the scene. He was located by an officer a short time later near the intersection of Moore Lane and Simpson Street.
Here is the affidavit filed by prosecutors:
On September 2, 2021, at approximately 8:45 p.m., BPD received reports of a pedestrian-vehicle collision near the intersection of Central Avenue and Santa Fe Drive in Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana. Multiple BPD officers were dispatched to the scene. Dispatch was also informed that the vehicle involved in the accident, a white Ford F-150, had left the scene. A short time late the vehicle was located near the intersection Moore Ln. and Simpson St. A white male later identified as COOPER KNUTSON RUDE (Born in October of 2001), the Defendant herein, was the driver and sole occupant of the white Ford F-150.
Officer Beck brought the Defendant to his patrol vehicle and advised him of his Miranda rights after which the Defendant agreed to answer some questions. The Defendant stated he was driving westbound in the left lane on Central Avenue at approximately forty-five miles per hour when he saw a group of people walk out into the roadway. The Defendant stated that he was unable to slow his vehicle and struck one of the people in the roadway. The Defendant also stated that Gavin Cragwick (“Cragwick”) and Ryland Ratcliff (“Ratcliff”) were passengers in his vehicle at the time of the collision. The Defendant also stated that he consumed approximately four beers prior to the collision.
At this time the Defendant was transported to Billings Clinic so a blood draw could be performed. The Defendant consented to the blood draw and was then transported to city hall where he provided an additional statement. In that statement the Defendant provided the following information. The Defendant, Cragwick, and Ratcliff were driving to Home Depot to purchase supplies for a home project. The Defendant was driving his white, Ford F-150 at approximately forty-five to fifty miles per hour westbound on Central Avenue. The Defendant expressly stated that he knew he was operating his vehicle over the posted speed limit of that portion of Central Avenue. Then, near the intersection of Central Avenue and Santa Fe Drive several individuals stepped out into the street and the Defendant was unable to reduce his speed and he then struck one of the individuals in the roadway.
The Defendant then stated that he stopped just west of the scene of the collision. There, Cragwick and Ratcliff exited his vehicle. After this the Defendant again left the scene of the collision and began driving to his residence in Lockwood, Montana with the intent to go to his home.
BPD Officer Anderson first responded to the scene where the vehicle involved in the collision was located with the Defendant. Officer Anderson observed the Defendant’s vehicle and noted that there was damage on the passenger side of the vehicle including: (1) a knocked out headlight; (2) the front quarter panel stripped back to the passenger door, barely still attached to the vehicle; (3) blood on stripped quarter panel and the side of the truck near the passenger side mirror; (4) shattering of the windshield in the bottom corner neat the windshield wiper; and (5) hair and flesh imbedded in the shattered windshield. Based on this the vehicle was seized as part of the investigation.
Officer Anderson responded to the scene of the collision, Central Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. There Officer Anderson observed the body of the decedent, D.O., on the North side of the roadway just onto the sidewalk approximately one hundred feet from the intersection of Central Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. Officer Anderson was unable to determine the exact location of the impact but discovered a fair amount of headlight debris from the vehicle and other evidence regarding the collision.
Officer Anderson then spoke with A.C, the wife of the decedent, who was present at the time of the collision. A.C. was able to positively identify D.O. A.C. then stated that her and D.O. were walking together when the white Ford F-150 struck D.O. Shortly after this Officer Beck communicated the details of his interview with the Defendant to Officer Anderson.
Also dispatched to the scene of the collision were Officers Stigen and Robidoux. While at the scene, Officer Stigen spoke to Ratcliff who provided the following information. He was in the vehicle when it struck the decedent. Prior to the collision he, the Defendant, and Cragwick were at his home on Miles Avenue working on a project. He observed the Defendant consume “a few beers” while at his residence but was not sure how many he consumed. He was in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle when they began driving to Home Depot. The Defendant was driving fast and had the radio up loud. Ratcliff stated he was not paying attention when the collision happened but that he felt a thump, looked up, and heard Cragwick say that the Defendant had struck an individual in the roadway. After this the Defendant continued westbound on Central Avenue until reaching a gas station near the intersection of Central Avenue and 24th Street West where the Defendant turned his vehicle around and drove past the crash scene again. Ratcliff stated he believed the Defendant would stop his vehicle at the scene of the collision, but he continued to drive by the collision scene. The Defendant then pulled into a parking lot past the scene of the collision and came to a stop and said that he needed to leave. Ratcliff then exited the vehicle along with his dog and Cragwick.
Officer Robidoux spoke with Cragwick who provided the following information. He was in the front passenger seat of the Defendants vehicle when the collision occurred. He, the Defendant, and Ratcliff were at Ratcliff’s residence since approximately 6:30 p.m. and Ratcliff and the Defendant were consuming alcohol. Cragwick stated he did not know how many beers the Defendant drank but observed him consume at least one beer. The group then left the residence to go purchase supplies for a bed they were constructing. The Defendant was driving westbound on Central Ave in the center lane approaching the intersection with Santa Fe Drive when Cragwick could see some “kids” crossing Central Avenue. He believed he observed three or four individuals crossing the street. The Defendant’s vehicle then struck one of the individuals somewhere in the intersection. After this the Defendant pulled his vehicle over somewhere along the South side of Central Avenue and Cragwick told the Defendant to return to the scene. The Defendant then turned his vehicle around and drove past the scene to a parking lot where he dropped of Cragwick and Ratcliff and then left the scene.
Other BPD officers on scene obtained statements from other witnesses at the scene who observed the collision. Those statements were all factually consistent with the statements provided by the Defendant, Ratcliff, and Cragwick.
On November 10, 2021, a toxicology report from the Montana State Crime Lab showed that the Defendant’s blood alcohol content was 0.089 at the time of the accident.
Rude, 20 years old, pleaded not guilty to felony counts of vehicular homicide while under the influence and failure to stop or remain at the scene involving death or serious bodily injury.
Rude was allowed to remain free on his own recognizance while the case is pending following an agreement between prosecutors and his defense attorney that includes certain conditions, including regular breathalyzer testing and driving restrictions.
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