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Witnesses Say Mahtowa Rest Stop DWI Hit-and Run Looked Intentional

On June 19, a former Duluth man allegedly engaged in the hit-and-run death of Greg Blackburn, a Mahtowa rest stop janitor. Now, Gregory Allen Scherber, 55, is going to be evaluated for both mental illness and competency before his case proceeds.

It was Scherber’s attorney who made the request for a Rule 20 request to have Scherber evaluated, which could take up to a month to complete.

Scherber was charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and criminal vehicular homicide. Both offenses are felonies and even more serious charges could follow based on statements by witnesses that Scherber appeared to purposely run over Blackburn.

The prosecution is still getting discovery from the multiple agencies involved in the investigation, including possible DWI charges or whether the killing of Blackburn was intentional. The prosecution is waiting to see all of the witness statements, the reconstruction of the accident scene, photos, and the analysis from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension regarding the blood alcohol level from the sample taken from Scherber after he was arrested following a police chase lasting 25 miles. The chase ended with Scherber and his truck landing in a ditch.

The criminal case says that Scherber is said to live in Duluth, but he stated in court that he now lives in Minneapolis.

According to the criminal complaint, Minnesota State Patrol was advised of the hit-and-run at the rest area in Culkin, which is northbound on I-35 near Hatowa. It was not long after when a trooper who was in the vicinity saw a vehicle that matched the description of the one in the hit-and-run. That is when the officer chased the blue Ford pickup truck at speads nearing 100 mph in heavy traffic on I-35.

The officer attempted to pull the vehicle over, but the vehicle would not stop and fled toward Duluth. When a construction zone was entered near the St. Louis County border, the truck started passing traffic by driving on the shoulder, hitting barriers and cones in the process. The truck then exited the freeway on Boundary Avenue and drove through Proctor, hitting Highway 2 westbound. This is when other law enforcement agencies became involved in the chase, but had no success stopping the vehicle.

Another trooper was finally able to make contact and spun the truck out of control where it came to rest in a ditch. Afterward, officers were able to take Scherber into custody. The report states that he was yelling obscenities and was very agitated, saying the Native Mob Gang was after him and that the FBI had hung up on him when he had called them earlier in the day with complaints that this mob was following him.

In the meantime, emergency personnel were at the rest area where they confirmed that Blackburn was dead. Witnesses said that the pickup truck was at one end of an empty semitrailer parking lot and accelerated toward the other side where Blackburn was picking up trash.

Scherber has a past criminal record that includes DWI, disorderly conduct, theft, domestic assault, violation of a harassment order, and terroristic threats.

The prosecution requested his bail be set at $75,000. The judge set bail at $75,000 bond or $7,500 cash.

At his first court hearing, Scherber was very agitated and animated, asking to speak to the court. The bailiff then escorted him from the court.