A Cambridge, Minnesota, woman was charged with vehicular homicide Wednesday after a 148th Fighter Wing civil engineer died in a crash in May.
Tabitha Sue Sigler, 21, was charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide, operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance.
According to court documents, on May 14, 2021, Sigler was driving a Mitsubishi Endeavor south on U.S. Interstate 35 near mile marker 182 in Pine County when she lost control of the SUV.
Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Aaron Churness, a traffic accident reconstructionist, was brought in to determine what happened during the crash. According to court documents, Churness determined Sigler was driving in the right southbound lane of I-35 when she traveled over the centerline into the left southbound lane and into the median.
Churness allegedly observed distinct rolling tire marks from all four wheels in the soft-gravel left shoulder, which indicated Sigler failed to brake or steer as the SUV stuck the embankment in the median, court documents said.
It’s believed the SUV went airborne at 60 mph, landing in the left northbound shoulder of I-35 and causing a gouge in the gravel. According to court documents, physical evidence in the road showed that the SUV then started rolling after its first contact with the gravel, eventually hitting a Kia driven by Master Sgt. David Thomas Greiner.
Evidence showed that Greiner saw Sigler’s vehicle coming toward him and fully applied the brakes and steered to the right shoulder to try and avoid being hit, court documents said. State Patrol determined the front-left tire of Sigler’s vehicle struck Greiner’s door seam. The left-rear corner of Sigler’s vehicle came down on the hood, roof support structure and roof of Greiner’s vehicle before coming to a rest on the right shoulder of the northbound lane, court documents said.
Greiner suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy conducted by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be multiple blunt-force injuries, including fatal head trauma due to a motor vehicle collision. Greiner was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash and his toxicology results were negative for alcohol and controlled substances.
State Patrol Trooper Jacob Christopherson was the first to arrive at the scene. Sigler allegedly told Christopherson she was driving south when she lost control of the vehicle. A passenger in the same vehicle, Santino Chavez, told the trooper he was falling asleep when he woke up to “being in the air,” court documents said. Both were flown to Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Law enforcement officers found a butane torch lighter near the Mitsubishi among the debris. The officers also found a black digital scale with a white powdery residue on it, which tested positive at the scene for methamphetamine. According to court documents, officers further detected the smell of marijuana coming from inside the Mitsubishi and located a partially empty bottle of whiskey.
A further search of the SUV revealed a cosmetic case with burn marks, consistent with a hot glass pipe used to smoke meth, court documents said. Officers also found a baggie of a white crystalline substance later determined by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to be dimethyl sulfone, according to court documents.
A search warrant was obtained for a blood sample from Sigler, which was taken about three hours after the crash at Regions Hospital. According to court documents, a BCA report indicates Sigler’s blood sample contained THC, amphetamine and meth.
Sigler was convicted of fifth-degree possession of marijuana in 2019.