Driver fatally strikes pedestrian while playing air guitar at the wheel

MOOSE LAKE, MN – A Minnesota resident has been accused of fatally hitting a pedestrian while distractedly playing air guitar at the wheel. The incident occurred on March 21, 2024, resulting in charges of criminal vehicular homicide against Brent Keranen, a 21-year-old from Pengilly.

The event transpired during the early evening hours as Justin McNeil, a 61-year-old local, was walking along the shoulder of Highway 73 after exiting a nearby Dollar General store. According to the charges, Keranen, who was driving northbound, deviated from the road and struck McNeil, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Keranen’s explanation of events, detailed in the charges, has raised eyebrows. He confessed to officials that he had been up late the night before hanging out with friends and had worked exhaustively long hours before the accident. On the day of the fatal collision, he had been involved in a minor accident after dozing off at the wheel and hitting a state trooper’s car. While his blood-alcohol content was found to be below the legal limit at that time, he did receive a citation for the crash and resumed driving after drinking a “5-Hour Energy”.

Keranen admits that he was momentarily distracted by a catchy song on the radio, causing him to engage in an air guitar performance when the fatal accident occurred. He confessed that his car’s cruise control was set to 52 mph, surpassing the 40 mph zone limit. Following the fatal crash, Keranen was tested again for blood alcohol content and registered a .06.

As of Monday evening, Keranen was not found on the inmate list of the Carlton County Sheriff’s jail.