Man sentenced for crash that killed Lakeville North student

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A Farmington man was sentenced Monday afternoon for a crash this spring that killed a Lakeville North High School student.

Alejandro Jesus Saavedra, 21, was sentenced to a little less than five years (57 months) in prison and given credit for 198 days already served. He was charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of criminal vehicular operation — all for driving under the influence and crashing on April 9. He took a plea deal in July, which required him to plead guilty to just one vehicular homicide and one vehicular operation charge each.

Under that agreement, he was expected to get no more than 57 months in prison.

During his sentencing, Saavedra chose to share.

“It is true I didn’t see all the damage that I caused, I only saw the one damage, which was the life that was taken — but I really am sorry for everything,” Saavedra said to Dakota County Judge Vicki Taylor.

The crash happened at around 6:30 a.m. after Burnsville police responded to a noise complaint at Best Western Premier Nicollet Inn. Officers saw three people run through the parking lot, then speed away in a Lexus. A short time later, officers found the Lexus, which Saavedra was driving, crash behind a post office.

Sixteen-year-old Sydney Kohner, a sophomore at Lakeville North, died at the scene. A 15-year-old passenger and Saavedra were also seriously injured.

RELATED: Family, friends share stories of Lakeville North student killed in Burnsville crash

At the hospital, officers noted a strong smell of alcohol coming from Saavedra, who also told paramedics he’d been drinking and using marijuana before driving, according to court documents.

RELATED: Charges: Man was drinking, doing drugs before crash that killed Lakeville North student

At Monday’s sentencing, Judge Taylor acknowledged Saavedra’s remorse but didn’t appear convinced he’s taken full responsibility.

“[Mr. Saavedra had] also expressed that the cause of the crash may have had to do with the wheel falling off the vehicle and it showed to me a lack of insight into the real cause of the crash,” Judge Taylor said, later telling Saavedra: “If you believe the crash somehow happened because the wheel of your car fell off, or that there was some type of mechanical malfunction, you are mistaken and or in clear denial. You alone caused this crash. You alone caused Sydney’s death. You alone caused permanent injuries.”

Several friends and family members also spoke during Monday’s hearing. Their comments will not be shared publicly, but many wore butterflies on their shirts because Kohner loved them.

An attorney who represents both families, Jim Carlson of Carlson Law Office, did share with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the families will get better through the support system they have.

“It’s going to take time, time to heal, but they greatly appreciate the efforts from everybody that was involved in this,” Carlson said.

Without a plea deal, he could’ve faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted of criminal vehicular homicide or five years if convicted of criminal vehicular operation.