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Former Moorhead business owner and victim of hit-and-run sees improving health, though case remains unsolved

Kent Tweten was riding his bike in July and was severely injured by a hit-and-run driver at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street South in Moorhead. David Samson / The Forum1 / 4
Moorhead police say this still image taken from a Moorhead business surveillance camera may show a vehicle (the small image of a car in the upper center of the frame) that was involved in a July 2018 hit-and-run that left a man severely injured. The image was captured just seconds before the hit-and-run happened at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street South. Special to The Forum2 / 4
The intersection where a hit-and-run driver struck Kent Tweten in July 2018. Dave Olson / The Forum3 / 4
A photo of Kent Tweten recovering in the hospital after he was struck by a car while riding his bike in July 2018. Special to The Forum4 / 4

MOORHEAD —Kent Tweten was riding his bike in south Moorhead in July when a car went through a stop sign and struck him.

The car took off.

Tweten was left with numerous injuries, including a fractured skull, a broken neck and other broken bones.

The collision resulted in a long stint in the hospital and a period of recovery at a Moorhead rehabilitation center, but the 53-year-old Tweten says he is now able to move better, though he still suffers effects from his injuries. For now, he is living in his father's home in Moorhead instead of his own home in rural Clay County.

In the early 2000s, Tweten was a co-owner of Coach's Sports Pub in downtown Moorhead, which was in a space that was formerly home to the Trader & Trapper restaurant and nightclub.

Before that, he operated a number of Giovanni's Pizza locations in the area, including Moorhead, for many years.

Tweten and his family say they want to see someone brought to justice in the hit-and-run incident. They have questioned the Moorhead Police Department's approach to the investigation, saying they believe the investigation could have been more aggressive in the days and weeks right after the incident.

"The ball got dropped. They never did anything with my brother's case," said Tweten's sister, Julie Ahlgren.

A police report on the incident obtained by Tweten's family states that Tweten was riding his bike the evening of July 22 when a vehicle ran a stop sign at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street South in Moorhead and struck Tweten.

Witnesses said the car involved was red, though accounts differ as to whether it was a bright red or more of a burgundy. A witness also told police the car had a rear spoiler on the trunk, but later the witness told police it wasn't clear whether the car had a spoiler.

Tweten told police he remembers seeing an oval badge on the grill, which could make it a Ford.

Ahlgren said that early in the investigation family members posted information about the hit-and-run on social media. She said Moorhead police discouraged the family from posting information online, advising it might make the driver involved more wary.

Moorhead Police Capt. Deric Swenson said the police department is taking the case seriously. He said investigators have checked on a number of leads since the incident happened, but nothing has panned out, leaving the investigation at something of a dead end.

Swenson said that as 2018 drew to a close, the police department had planned to put out a call for the public's help in locating the suspect vehicle. But he said that effort was put on hold after a shooting occurred at a south Moorhead grocery store and resources became focused on that incident.

Besides Tweten himself, Swenson said police haven't found a witness to the actual incident. But a number of people told police they saw the car involved immediately after the incident occurred, and one witness chased after the car on foot as it sped away, Swenson said.

Police located surveillance footage from a Moorhead business that shows a car driving westbound on Fourth Avenue South moments before the incident happened.

The image of the suspect car on the surveillance footage is small, and details are not clear. So far, no suspect car has been located.

Swenson said the department is keen on solving the case, but he added: "There are a lot of unknowns with this."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Moorhead police investigator Nicholas Leinen at 218-299-5126.

Dave Olson
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