Kvalvog Family Sues Minnesota State Patrol Over False, Misleading Accident Report of Sons' Tragic 2015 Death
Ray and Kathie Kvalvog look forward to their day in court to get justice and expose the false reporting of Sgt. Rod Eischens, and his ties to Park Christian School
July 16, 2021
West Fargo, ND (July 15, 2021) – Attorney David Chapman announced today he has commenced a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of his clients Ray and Kathie Kvalvog. The lawsuit against the Minnesota State Patrol, Park Christian School, former Park Christian School head varsity basketball coach Josh Lee and former head football coach Tim Kerr is for the denial of the Kvalvog’s civil rights in connection with the civil suit regarding a 2015 crash that claimed the lives of their sons, Zachary and Connor Kvalvog.
Click to Read or Download Complaint
In the years since the June 23, 2015 crash, more details have come to light about what the legal claim asserts is a conspiracy intended to cover up liability in the crash. One of the alleged co-conspirators is Sargent Rod Eischens of the Minnesota State Patrol. Sgt. Eischens initially placed the blame for the crash on Interstate 94 near Dalton, MN on 18 year-old Zachary. He later placed blame on a phantom semi-tractor and trailer. After Sgt. Eischens testified under oath at both his deposition and trial, it was revealed that he and his family have close personal relationships with the top administrators at Park Christian School in Moorhead, MN.
“Ray and Kathie have been through so much with the loss of their sons, not to mention the fact that someone from the Dalton Fire and Rescue team robbed their sons’ dead bodies. They have labored under grief over their loss and that has been compounded by attempts to stop them getting answers. They never expected to struggle with the Minnesota State Patrol to get an accurate account on the record of how the crash occurred,” said Chapman. “The lawsuit alleges the crash reconstruction report was intentionally misleading and inaccurate as are many of the statements which have been made under oath by Sgt. Rod Eischens. Although they always had concerns, the facts were like a puzzle and only time has allowed them to put all the pieces together. All my clients ever wanted was justice.”
The lawsuit contends Eischens wrote a report in a fashion that deflected attention from his friends at Park Christian School. The suit alleges that because Sgt. Eischens had close ties with the top leaders of the school it was his desire to protect his close family friends. The school informed the basketball team in the spring of 2015 about a Wisconsin Dells basketball tournament for which the team practiced for up until the day before the crash. The school paid for the tournament, filled out the registration for this “high school teams only” tournament, and reserved all the hotel rooms and made all of the arrangements for the tournament. The school refused to provide a bus or van and the coach made it part of the captain’s duties (Zachary) to arrange transportation and assigned him as one of the drivers. Coach Josh Lee then had Zachary follow the caravan, placing him in the back of a three-car formation.
The original version of the crash from Sgt. Eischens claimed that Zachary was thrown into the ditch by the road’s rumble strips, killing both Zachary and Connor. Essentially Sgt. Eischens took only the testimony of Coach Lee, also a named defendant, as the truth and ignored all other differing testimony by the two survivors in the vehicle, the witness in the lead vehicle, and many witnesses in other vehicles who saw the crash happen. It was later determined that Coach Lee and Sgt. Eischens account of the crash was completely false.
Sgt. Eischens, under overwhelming evidence gathered under both pressure from the Kvalvog Family and the Kvalvog Family’s independent evidence gathering efforts, finally changed his stated version of the crash from simply blaming 100 percent of the crash on Zachary to then saying the only cause of the crash was a semi-tractor and trailer, again leaving no fault with the school. To quote Sgt. Eischens, “I don’t know if it would have made a lot of difference,” on whether the Kvalvog vehicle would have been driving 70 MPH, the posted speed limit, or the 84 MPH, the speed of the caravan. As two coaches, Josh Lee and Tim Kerr, led the caravan down the highway at speeds far in excess of the speed limit, recognizing speed as a factor and cause of the crash would have opened the school up to potential liability.
“Our suit alleges that Sgt. Eischens could not and would not say anything that may place blame on his friends at Park Christian School even though his statements were seemingly against all common sense and State Patrol advisories,” said Ray Kvalvog.
Evidence found recently shows a message between Eischens and the leader of Park Christian School wherein Eischens advises then Principal and current school President Chris Nellermoe, to speak to his lawyer about an unknown piece of evidence the two had been discussing. Neither this evidence or advice was ever revealed or given to the Kvalvog Family during their civil suit even though it was subpoenaed.
The lawsuit alleges there are errors in the report. These errors include causes of the accident itself and even what happened in the aftermath. The State Patrol has admitted that there are errors in the accident report. The Complaint alleges that Sgt. Rod Eischens, as the trooper in charge of the accident investigation, has a conflict of interest because of personal ties to school officials and conducted his investigation and presented his reports in a manner that minimized Park Christian School’s negligence in and surrounding the Kvalvog crash.
There were contributing factors that never made it into the report. One being an inexperienced teenage driver, a caravan of vehicles with the youngest driver at the back and the high rate of speed the cars were traveling at. The Complaint alleges that the State Patrol doesn’t want to have to change their erroneous report because it will set a precedent for future cases and give the State Patrol a black eye.
Ray Kvalvog said his goal is to expose the corruption that has been revealed at the State Patrol and Park Christian School and to get the answers their family deserves.
“The purpose of this suit is to expose the truth and coverup of this case,” said Kvalvog. “Sgt. Eischens made statements about the crash that we allege were contrary to evidence and common sense and we know that he never revealed his relationship with top administrative school officials during our prior lawsuit when he was being touted as the objective voice in all of this—the man with ‘no dog in the fight’. We want the report revised with new evidence that shows the cause for the crash and factors that contributed to it, which is not currently in the report. The State Patrol doesn’t want to admit they made a mistake, and the school doesn’t want the blame laid on them.”
Kvalvog stands firmly to his belief that Eischens’ relationship with top school leaders clouded the truth.
“How can a person plead he is impartial, when within 10 days of the crash Sgt Eischens hosted a Fourth of July party wherein many of the attendees had ties to Park Christian,” said Kvalvog. “Then only a week later, Sgt Eischens takes a vacation to marry off his daughter to a recent Park Christian graduate, whose sister is married to the school president’s son. Not only were top leaders of Park Christian School in attendance, but so were their families as all have been decades-long friends. How does an investigator not see that as significant? How does an investigator not reveal that?”
Chapman says that justice in this case is about having the truth be told.
“The Kvalvog Family asserts that this has not happened to date,” said Chapman. “This family should not continue suffering because the State Patrol, which the complaint asserts admitted the report is not accurate in a meeting with the Kvalvogs at the office of Senator Kent Eken, is scared of setting a precedent of some sort and giving the State Patrol a black eye if they amend their report.”
After years of anguish following the loss of his sons, Kvalvog simply wants the whole truth to be put into the report and to make those who did not include all the facts into the original report accountable for their actions.
“Filing this suit doesn’t bring back my boys,” said Kvalvog. “They are gone. Kathie and I will never see them again. We missed out on so much of what could have been their lives. I just want the truth. I tried working with the Minnesota State High School League, Park Christian School and the State Patrol and they will not cooperate. I have no other option than to file this litigation to get the truth in what really happened on that awful day. My wife and I have been sued yet again in the crash and so yet again we are left dealing with what we allege is a distortion of truth in the crash and we again must defend ourselves and get the truth. Although we don’t like all this litigation, this is the only way to get the truth.”.
About Attorney David Chapman:
David Chapman is an attorney practicing in Fargo, ND. For more information, please visit https://www.djchapmanlaw.com/.