POLK COUNTY -- A criminal complaint has been filed against a Minnesota man after he was identified by authorities as to the driver of a vehicle which struck and killed two pedestrians, identified as Richard Cobenais and Benjamin Juarez, in January 2014 in Polk County.
Today, October 22, 2020, Polk County Authorities held a press conference to update the community on the situation and stating that a suspect was in custody. DrydenWire streamed it live which can be viewed here.
Polk County and St. Croix Tribal authorities issued a release in January 2019 on the 5 year anniversary of the crash seeking the public’s help in identifying the driver of the vehicle.
The vehicle which struck Cobenais and Juarez causing them to sustain fatal injuries left the scene of the crash, and the case remained unsolved until authorities recently received new information.
A witness at the time of the incident told authorities that the vehicle had been a dark-colored truck and that it stopped briefly after striking Cobenais and Juarez. Two males exited the truck, approached the scene, and then turned and fled back to the truck, ultimately leaving the scene. The witness went on to say that they called out to the two males, asking them to call the police for help, and according to the criminal complaint filed against Endres, heard one of the males say “we need to get out of here”.
Investigators who responded to the scene of the crash found footprints and tire tracks that corresponded with the witness’s statements, along with vehicle parts that corresponded with the witness’s description of the vehicle.
On September 28, 2020, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from someone stating that they knew Andrew Endres had been the driver of the vehicle involved in the double fatality, states the criminal complaint filed against him.
Authorities reviewed vehicle records and discovered that at the time of the double fatality pedestrian crash Endres had owned a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle. Further investigation revealed that Endres had since sold the vehicle, and then it had been sold again.
On October 3, 2020, Investigators met with the person (identified only by initials in the criminal complaint) who provided the tip about Endres. They stated that they had knowledge that Endres had been the driver of the truck involved in the double fatality; that Endres had been consuming alcohol the evening of the incident; and that Endres had paid cash to have the truck repaired following the incident.
When investigators reviewed Polk County property landowner records, they were able to confirm that property only a few miles from the location of the double-fatality was owned by Endres’ family.
A search warrant was obtained for Endres’ phone records dating back to the time of the incident. Authorities reviewed those records on October 8, 2020, which indicated that Endres had used the phone around the time of the crash and that communication had utilized a cell phone tower located 1.4 miles from the crash.
On October 13, 2020, Investigators made contact with the current owner of the vehicle suspected to have been involved in the double fatality. The owner told investigators that they had never been in a crash with the vehicle other than getting stuck in heavy snow, and had never replaced any front end parts.
The truck was seized as evidence, covered in tarps, and transported to the Polk County Sheriff’s to be stored for future submission to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for processing.
On October 14, 2020, Investigators interviewed Endres about the double fatality. Initially, Endres stated that he did not know where Polk County, WI was. The criminal complaint goes on to state that Endres did confirm the location of the property owned by his family near Luck, WI. When asked about vehicles had previously owned, Endres’ confirmed that he had owned a black Ford F-150, however, he stated that it had never been in any type of accident that he knew of.
Investigators brought up the double fatality, asking Endres’ if he had any knowledge of it. The criminal complaint says that Endres stated his belief that the Investigators had been provided information regarding himself due to another individual’s hostile feelings toward him, stating “I hate to tell you, I think you’re going on a wild good chase.”
As the Investigators continued to speak with Endres, he allegedly went on to state that the truck he had owned didn’t even match the description of the suspect vehicle, and that he had not been in the area when it happened because he always had to work Saturdays.
Also on October 14, 2020, Investigators spoke with the individual who purchased the truck from Endres and confirmed that no repairs had been made to the front end by that individual, and the vehicle had not been in any type of crash while owned by them.
Then on the evening of October 14, 2020, Investigators made contact with the individual who had been the passenger in the truck that Endres was driving at the time of the double fatality. This individual (identified only as WITNESS1 in the criminal complaint) admitted knowing Endres.
A search warrant was conducted at Endres’ residence on October 15, 2020. While the warrant was being executed, Endres stated that he wanted to speak with his attorney.
On October 18, 2020, Investigators once again met with the individual (WITNESS1 in the criminal complaint) who had been the passenger at the time of the double fatality. This individual stated that they had been at the family property on the date of the incident and that they had been in the truck with Endres driving at the time that it struck Cobenais and Juarez. Endres got out of the truck following the crash and after stating “we have to get out of here”, drove away from the scene. The individual went on to state that after they arrived back at the family property, they went inside to preoccupy the rest of the people who were there, while Endres attempted to clean the truck off with bleach.
Endres is charged with two counts of Class D Felony, Hit & Run - Resulting in Death. If convicted as charged he faces a possible maximum sentence of 50 years confinement in state prison.
Online circuit court records show Endres is in the custody of Dakota County Law Enforcement.
It is not known to DrydenWire.com at the time of this post if any criminal charges are to be filed against any other individuals regarding this incident.
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Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.