A Scott County driver killed a passenger of another car in what appears NOT to be even a case of criminal vehicular operation, as defined by Minnesota Law. In a Minnesota summer seemingly fully of driving deaths, including DWI accidents causing death (Criminal Vehicular Operation or Criminal Vehicular Homicide) there has tragically been another death, this time in Scott County. This case , unlike most, did not include a Minnesota DWI.
Scott County Sheriff Kevin Studnicka reported on July 31, 2014 that Mae Ann Schoenbauer, 83, of New Prague, was killed in a traffic accident near the New Prague high school. She died after being taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. Schoenbauer’s husband, who was driving the car that she was in, was also injured. The pair were struck by a vehicle driven by Kaylee M. Johnson, 27, of Elko New Market. Johnson reportedly ran a stop sign and struck the Schoenbauer’s vehicle on Highway 15 in New Prague. Johnson stated to police that she was listening to the radio while driving. A song on the radio apparently reminded her of her friend’s wedding. The next thing she knew, she had run a red light and struck the Schoenbauer’s vehicle, leaving one dead and the other one injured.
How Bad Does Driving Have to Be to Equate to Minnesota Criminal Vehicular Operation?
In Johnson’s case, the Scott County Sheriff said charges are pending against Johnson, but he doubts they’ll rise to a felony, because no drugs, alcohol or grossly negligent driving were apparently involved. Minnesota law states that a death caused by a DWI accident is presumed to meet the “grossly negligent” driving standard defining CVO in Minnesota law. However, where alcohol or drugs are not involved, no impaired driving is indicated. With no impaired driving, therefore, the State must prove “grossly negligent” driving. This is hard for prosecutors to prove. Usually in non-DWI cases it involves some form of extremely reckless driving such as driving at 100 miles per hour, driving the wrong way on an interstate, etc. Even if Johnson is not charged with Criminal Vehicular Homicide because the prosecutor cannot prove “gross negligence” in her driving, she can certainly be convicted of Minnesota Careless Driving, which could mean up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. Worst of all, Johnson will never be able to think of her friend’s wedding or a song from it without remember the death she caused by careless driving. If you or someone you know has been charged with a Minnesota driving crime, contact an experienced Tough Defense Attorney ASAP.