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Lakeville Woman Sentenced in Drunken, Fatal Crash with Motorcycle

Updated: 07/02/2014 4:52 PM
Created: 07/02/2014 12:15 PM KSTP.com
By: Heidi Enninga

A 45-year-old Lakeville woman was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for drinking and driving without a license in a crash that killed a motorcyclist last June in Apple Valley.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said Leah Marie Colwell pleaded guilty to one felony count of Criminal Vehicular Homicide and one count of Driving after Cancellation, a gross misdemeanor, on May 1. Colwell was sentenced to 57 months in prison and was also ordered to pay restitution, but the amount has not been determined yet.

Other charges of Criminal Vehicular Homicide-Negligence-Alcohol, Criminal Vehicular Homicide, Fourth Degree Driving While Impaired and Open Bottle were dropped.

On June 27, 2013, Colwell was driving about 8:05 p.m. when her vehicle collided with a motorcycle traveling west on 160th Street in Apple Valley, the criminal complaint said.

Colwell turned her Ford Taurus in front of the motorcycle from eastbound 160th Street, northbound onto Harwell Avenue. Jeffrey Trondson, 29, was driving the motorcycle when it hit the passenger side of the vehicle.

Trondson of Burnsville died at the scene.

A preliminary breath test showed that Colwell had a blood-alcohol level of 0.360, the complaint said. She also smelled of alcohol, had watery and glassy eyes, was incoherent and unsteady on her feet.

Colwell told officers that she had drank four "captain Cokes." Police said Colwell’s driver's license privileges were canceled at the time of the crash.

According to state records, Colwell was convicted in 1993 and 1997 of driving while under the influence.

Results from a blood test administered at 9:45 p.m. showed Colwell had a blood alcohol level of 0.32.

“This is another tragic example of the extreme dangers of drinking and driving,” Backstrom said. “We are pleased to have brought this defendant to justice for this preventable crime. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Jeff Trondson for their great loss.”

Leah Marie Colwell
Photo courtesy of the Dakota County Sheriff

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