Driver Pleads Guilty in Crash that Killed 2 Burnsville Teens
An 18-year-old Burnsville man has pleaded guilty to the deaths of two teens and the injuries of two other teenagers during a crash last August in Burnsville, according to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
The man was the driver of the vehicle and was 17-years-old at the time of the crash. He is not named in the charges because he was underage when the deadly crash occurred.
According to Backstrom, the driver pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide, one felony count of criminal vehicular operation resulting in substantial bodily harm and one gross misdemeanor count of criminal vehicular operation resulting in bodily harm.
The crash occurred at about 2:30 p.m. Aug. 21, 2012 on Buck Hill Road. Accident reconstruction by the Minnesota State Patrol estimated that the vehicle was traveling 96 mph in a 40 mph zone when it became airborne.
The driver lost control of the vehicle before it spun 180 degrees and hit the curb, according to Backstrom. The vehicle then rolled at least six times down a hill, landing on the southbound lanes of Interstate 35.
Frederick Jeffrey Alexander, 16, was ejected from the car and died at the scene. Alesha Katherine Roehl, 17, was ejected from the car and flown to a hospital, where she died later that night. Both were from Burnsville.
A 17-year-old boy from Burnsville, was ejected and suffered a severe cut to his arm and other injuries. A 16-year-old boy from Lakeville, who was in the front seat, and the driver were wearing their seatbelts. They were not ejected.
The three passengers, who were ejected, were in the backseat. They were not wearing their seatbelts, according to Backstrom.
The driver had gotten the vehicle about four days before the crash. According to the investigation, the driver was weaving back-and-forth while accelerating.
The driver told investigators that he thought it would be fun to swerve back-and-forth. He must have hit the gas pedal, instead of the brake, before losing control of the car, he told police.
The front seat passenger told police that he asked the driver to slow down before the crash.
The case was filed under Minnesota's extended juvenile jurisdiction law, which will provide a stayed-adult sentence if the driver is convicted of the crimes. It also would extend the juvenile court's jurisdiction over the case until the driver turns 21 years old.
The driver will be sentenced Sept. 23 in Hastings.