South Dakota man charged in Jackson crash that killed two
The July 2021 collision involved a pickup truck and semi-truck, whose driver reportedly ran a stop sign.
JACKSON — A Bryant, South Dakota man has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with a July 2021 crash that killed two people near Alpha, in Jackson County.
Landon James Beld, 24, also faces two gross misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and a misdemeanor count of failure to stop at a stop sign.
The crash was reported on July 26, 2021, at the intersection of Jackson County State Aid Highway 34 and Jackson County 29. Dispatch reported that the driver of a semi-truck, later identified as Beld, had called to report he missed a stop sign and was struck by another vehicle. Beld stated he was not injured but the two people in the other vehicle were.
According to the complaint, when first responders arrived on the scene, the semi, which was connected to a grain feed trailer, was in the northbound lane of Jackson County 29. The trailer was in the ditch with the pickup pinned beneath it. Both the driver and passenger were dead.
Officers spoke with a witness to the crash, who stated she had observed the semi traveling north toward the intersection, while the pickup was traveling east. Only north and south traffic is required to stop at the intersection, and the witness stated the semi did not appear to be slowing down.
The witness, who was traveling westbound, reportedly honked at the semi-driver but did not get his attention. She stated she saw no signs he tried to brake. The two vehicles collided at the intersection and came to rest in the ditch. While the semi-driver called 911, the witness went to check on the occupants of the pickup but could tell they had died.
A Jackson County investigator arrived on the scene and spoke with Beld, who was being checked for injuries in an ambulance. Beld told the investigator he ran the stop sign at approximately 35 miles per hour while traveling north.
Beld stated he was hauling feed but that he typically used a different route and was unfamiliar with this one. He said he was unaware there was a stop sign at the intersection, and only noticed it when he was about 100 yards away.
According to the complaint, Beld thought he was going about 55 miles at that point and slammed on his brakes. He reportedly looked to his right and hadn't seen a vehicle coming, and thought he could make the intersection. Beld said by the time he looked to the left, he was already in the middle of the intersection, where he collided with the pickup truck.
Beld showed no signs of impairment and stated he didn't use drugs and hadn’t had any alcohol that day.
A post-crash inspection was conducted on the semi, during which multiple pre-crash violations were discovered. Among other things, the antilock braking system malfunction light on the trailer was inoperative, and four out of six of the spring brakes on the trailer’s dual brake chambers were broken.
Beld was issued a summons to make his initial court appearance on Aug. 17. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine, or both on each of the criminal vehicular homicide charges. Both reckless driving charges carry a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and/or a $3,000 fine.