Man charged with DUI, manslaughter for killing toddler in car accident
A 37-year-old Nome man was charged with drunk driving and manslaughter after his 18-month-old son died in a car wreck between Teller and Nome in the early morning hours of June 18.
According to charging court documents, James Bloomstrand recklessly caused the death of his son Ronald Bloomstrand while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Alaska State Trooper Jonnathon Stroebele was notified by a flight medic on June 18 around 7:40 a.m. that a child was ejected from a car during a roll over and that the child had died from the injuries. According to court documents, Bloomstrand and his partner Megan Topkok and their son Ronald drove their Dodge Durango to Teller on June 17. The couple placed their son with a babysitter and went out to drink.
Bloomstrand later described to troopers his intoxication level on a scale of one to 10 as a “10.” Topkok warned him not to drink and drive, the complaint says. “Nevertheless, during the early morning hours of June 18, Bloomstrand decided to drive back to Nome,” the complaint says. He took his child from the babysitter, who according to troopers said was concerned about his level of intoxication, and he drove off to Nome around 2 a.m.
When he did not arrive in Nome, family went to search for him. According to Stroebele, the grandfather of the child found the wreck near mile 56 of the Bob Blodgett Nome-Teller Highway, near Bluestone River. The search party transported the toddler to the Teller clinic, where he was pronounced dead.
They also brought the injured James Bloomstrand to Teller, where flight medics took him on a medevac flight to Anchorage for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Trooper Stroebele described the wreck scene that the car went off the road, down a steep embankment and rolled multiple times until it came to rest on its roof in Bluestone creek. Bloomstrand and his son were ejected out of the vehicle.
Bloomstrand was flown to Anchorage and treated in the hospital there. He was interviewed in the hospital by an AST investigator and “essentially acknowledged being heavily intoxicated before choosing to drive back to Nome” and he stated “that he had no recollection of picking up his son.”
Bloomstrand, once released from the hospital, was taken by Anchorage Police to the Anchorage Correctional Complex and had his first felony appearance on the charges on June 22 in Anchorage, where the judge set bail for $50,000 and appointed a public defender as counsel for Bloomstrand. A preliminary hearing in the Nome court is set for June 29 at 1:30 p.m.