A man from Southern Minnesota has pled guilty to criminal vehicular homicide charges. This blog has previously discussed CVO and criminal vehicular operation charges under Minnesota law. In some cases, a driver may face the serious charges after a car accident includes evidence of potential drunk driving. But CVO or CVH charges do not necessarily have to include allegations that a driver was impaired at the time of the crash.
Officials in Blue Earth County charged a 24-year-old man with criminal vehicular homicide after he was allegedly involved in a head-on collision on Blue Earth County Road 90 last summer. Two people were killed in the car accident and the man accused of crossing into oncoming traffic before the crash was hospitalized with 26 broken bones. Authorities say that the man was distracted by having sex while driving his car. His passenger and the other driver were each killed in the wreck.
The man says that he does not remember the events surrounding the accident. However, he entered into a plea agreement with the prosecutor that could expose him to four years in prison. The deal, commonly referred to as a “Norgaard plea,” allows the man to plead guilty without having to directly admit to the alleged facts. A defendant who cannot remember the facts due to intoxication or amnesia must agree that a jury find the person guilty based upon the evidence the state proposes to present at trial. A Norgaard plea essentially allows a defendant to enter the plea to obtain the benefit of a plea deal.
The man is scheduled for sentencing December 10. The prosecutor agreed to recommend a four year prison sentence. The criminal defense will be allowed to argue for a shorter sentence, and will ask that a much shorter sentence be served in county jail instead of state prison, according to the Mankato Free Press.
The case was previously scheduled to go before a jury October 16.
Source: Mankato Free Press, “Mankato man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide,” Dan Nienaber, Oct. 1, 2012