Minnesota man admits to hosting party that led to teen’s death

Published 10:48 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

MADISON — A 19-year-old western Minnesota man has admitted that he hosted an underage drinking party attended by a star high school athlete from Dawson who was later found dead of hypothermia.

Erik Hastad of Hantho Township pleaded guilty in La qui Parle County Court Tuesday to violating the county’s social host ordinance, a misdemeanor, and contributing to the delinquency of a child, a gross misdemeanor.

Hastad’s father, Gary, was in court Wednesday for a hearing and has yet to enter a plea to violating the social host ordinance, according to his attorney, Ronald R. Frauenshuh Jr.

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If the older Hastad takes his case to trial, he may hear his son testify against him, Frauenshuh said.

“He could be compelled to testify,” on behalf of the prosecution, the defense attorney said.

The charges are a test of the western Minnesota county’s social host ordinance, passed in 2011 in an attempt to reduce underage drinking by holding parents and other party hosts criminally liable.

Michael Anyasike, 18, was reported missing after fleeing from the party early on March 9 as authorities arrived. His body was found about a mile from the unoccupied Madison-area farm where the party was held. Anyasike died from hypothermia, with alcohol consumption as a contributing factor, according to the county medical examiner.

Anyasike was a senior and lead running back for the Dawson-Boyd High School football team. He intended to attend St. John’s University this fall.

Erik Hastad spread the word about the Saturday night party and screened people as they arrived, asking who they were if he did not know them, according to the criminal complaint.

Gary Hastad, the farm’s owner, was not at the party but “reasonably should have known” about it, the complaint read.