Driver charged in fatal Lake Elmo crash pleads guilty to criminal vehicular homicide

April 08, 2019 06:45 PM

The driver of a semitrailer who crashed into a vehicle stopped at a red light in Lake Elmo in February of 2018, killing a 54-year-old business owner and biology instructor, pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide Monday in Washington County.

The plea comes on the day when the trial of Samuel Wayne Hicks of Independence, Wisconsin was set to start. He had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge in October of last year.


RELATED: Semi driver expected to plead guilty in fatal Lake Elmo crash

KSTP's Alex Jokich reports that as part of a plea agreement, Hicks will serve one year in jail and will receive 10 years of probation. He will also do community service announcements for the state patrol about the dangers of distracted driving.

According to the criminal complaint, Hicks allegedly had his eyes on his cell phone for eight seconds preceding the crash, a fact Jokich reports he admitted to in court Monday, saying he had been looking at a house online.

RELATED: Semi driver charged in fatal Lake Elmo crash pleads not guilty

Citing footage from a camera on the semi, investigators claimed Hicks made no effort to brake before striking the vehicle – which was at a complete stop at the intersection of Highway 36 and Lake Elmo Avenue – at a speed of 63 miles per hour. 

Robert Bursik of Amery, Wisconsin, was killed in the crash. Investigators said Bursik's vehicle was damaged beyond recognition, and was only later determined to be a 2015 Toyota Scion.

RELATED: Semi driver was looking at phone at time of fatal Lake Elmo crash, charges say

Jokich reports prosecutors say Bursik's family agreed to the deal. And they cited the fact that he showed remorse and took responsibility, as well as the fact that he had no prior criminal record, as factors in the agreement.

Sentencing in the matter is officially scheduled for July 19.


Connect with KSTP

Join the conversation on our social media platforms. Share your comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.



Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


Hall of Fame Vikings defensive end Chris Doleman dead at 58

Video shows Maple Grove Middle School assault; parents demand action

Stepfather of slain girl fears teen prosecuted by Klobuchar was wrongfully convicted

Unusually cloudy January is due to warmer, wetter weather with low pressure

Coworkers in lottery pool claim $1M Powerball prize

'Everyone's feeling tense': Community expresses discontent over proposed hospital cuts