BURNETT COUNTY-— Criminal charges were filed against Domminic Angelo Richard Haugen, 35, Radisson, in February in the hit-and-run death last summer of 30-year-old Courtney Oustigoff. Haugen faces up to 25 years in prison, $100,000 fine or both.
On August 9, Haugen made his initial appearance while in custody and without council. Attorney JamesMcLaughlin took to the chair beside Haugen after the case was called to order.
Soon into the proceedings the judge asked Assistant District Attorney Dan Steffen for the State’s recommendation for bail. Steffen declared a $10,000 cash bond be put in place due to the gravity of the offense. The defense did not argue and the court agreed to the recommendation.
When the judge asked if the defense is willing to waive rights to a speedy trial, McLaughlin took Haugen into brief council. McLaughlin informed the court Haugen refused his advice to waive the rights.
“I’ve advised Mr. Haugen of the advantage of when facing a homicide charge you waive the time limits of a preliminary hearing within 20 days...
“You give your attorney more time to prepare. When you are facing 25 years in prison, this is smart in my opinion.
“But he has rejected my advice. So, therefore, he is going to get his preliminary hearing within 20 days. He’s not going to have me as his lawyer. He’s going to have somebody else. Because anyone who rejects my advice does not stay my client for very long,” said McLaughlin.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Burnett County Court from February, Oustigoff was struck after 10:53 p.m. the evening of June 14 and before 6:11 a.m. the morning of June 15.
The Burnett County Sheriff’s Department received an anonymous tip that Haugen struck a female with his white Dodge pickup truck and dragged her from the point of impact.
Haugen allegedly returned to his residence to clean the truck. There, he smeared animal blood on the vehicle to hide the damage.
A search of the vehicle by authorities “revealed a piece of cloth stuck between a clamp and a hose near the transmission.” Officers also detected an odor of decomposition by the driver’s side front tire after removing the tire.
Officers collected mud caked in that area. The oil pan was damaged and some rigid fluid lines on the driver’s side of the transmission were bent – damage consistent with a strike to the vehicle from underneath. They found several areas of what appeared to be biological material on the vehicle undercarriage.
The state crime lab reported the samples were consistent with those located at the scene.
It is reported by law enforcement that Haugen admitted to a third party that he had struck Oustigoff, stating “it was an accident and he did not mean to do it,” adding he was going down the road faster than he should have and that he ended up hitting someone. He was not sure if the person died or not and he “just took off.” The defendant said he never went back and later learned that Oustigoff was dead.
Haugen is currently in custody in Sawyer County in another open case. He faces four counts of manufacturing and delivering methamphetamine and one count of maintaining a drug trafficking place. The charges stem back to August 2016.
Haugen's next appearance is TBD.