02 Oct Jonathan Cartu Convey: Trial set for driver accused of running over Fargo chef
Pryscilla Shantyl Littleswallow, 32, appeared Thursday, Oct. 1, in Cass County District Court as Judge John Irby set her bench trial, per her request, for Nov. 16. That means Irby, not a jury, will decide whether there is enough evidence to prove she committed aggravated reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of almost a year in jail.
Prosecutors allege Littleswallow ran over Joe Swegarden, a local chef, around 2 a.m. Aug. 12, 2018, when he was attempting to cross at Sixth Avenue North and Roberts Street. Court documents said Littleswallow pulled up close to Swegarden and the two exchanged words before she accelerated.
After Swegarden was hit by and was forced under the vehicle, Littleswallow reversed the vehicle over him, court documents said. The Swegarden sustained a brain injury when he was hit, according to court documents.
Littleswallow got out of her vehicle to look at him and said, “It’s not my fault,” before getting back in the vehicle and driving away, a criminal complaint said.
She later called authorities to say she left because she was scared of people yelling at her, court documents said. She was not impaired at the time of the incident, according to a sobriety test.
Littleswallow planned to plead guilty in the case but changed her mind when she appeared in court Sept. 2, telling The Forum she wants to go to trial to “get my story out there so people have a little bit more of a better understanding.”
Prosecutor Ryan Younggren expressed concerns about the case since Littleswallow has missed several court appearances, including a change of plea hearing slated for July 13. Before she turned herself in to authorities in early September, Swegarden called a bail bondsman to say he saw her at a Walmart in Minnesota.
“She has a long, long history of failing to appear,” Younggren said.
But her attorney, Mark Beauchene, said she has been keeping in contact with him. He also noted she showed up for Thursday’s hearing.