A Maplewood man who had been charged with criminal vehicular homicide and later pled guilty has been sentenced to one year in the Washington County Jail, followed by a decade of supervised probation.
The 21-year-old was accused of driving erratically while on the way to work on May 3, 2010. Prosecutors had claimed the man and a co-worker were worried about getting to work on time, when the Maplewood man lost control of his BMW on Highway 61 in Denmark Township, which is between Cottage Grove and Hastings.
The man was accused of causing a chain-reaction accident when he lost control of the car while traveling at a high speed. A staff sergeant with the National Guard was killed in the crash. The Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide or operation statute does not require in all cases that drugs or alcohol are involved for the state to seek the felony level offense.
A provision of the statute allows prosecutors to file a charge of CVO, based upon gross negligence in driving that causes injury to or the death of another person. Other provisions address CVO charges based upon drugs, alcohol or hazardous substances. A drugged driving or drunk driving related CVO charge does not require separate proof of gross negligence.
The accused made a plea agreement with prosecutors. The man was facing up to ten years in prison and a potential fine as high as $20,000, if convicted of the felony criminal vehicular operation charge. He negotiated a plea bargain that includes one year in county jail. The Washington County judge also placed the man on supervised probation for ten years. In addition, the judge prohibited the man from driving a car during the entire term of probation, unless the court makes a ruling to allow future driving.
KSTP-TV reports that the judge cautioned the man that if he got behind the wheel at any time during his probation, even once, the judge would revoke the probation and send the defendant to prison.
Source: KSTP, “Driver Gets Year in Jail for Crash That Killed Guardsman,” Mark Saxenmeyer, Feb. 26, 2012