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Driver charged in fatal Rosemount crash involving 1,100-pound boulder pleads guilty

Updated: December 05, 2019 06:14 PM

A Hastings man charged in connection to a fatal Rosemount crash where a large boulder fell from a truck and hit a vehicle, killing its two occupants, has pleaded guilty.

According to the Dakota County Attorney's Office, Joseph Paul Czeck, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

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Czeck had originally pleaded not guilty in May.

Man charged in fatal Rosemount crash involving 1,100-pound boulder pleads not guilty

Man charged in fatal Rosemount crash involving falling 1,100-pound boulder

A criminal complaint says authorities were called to Rich Valley Boulevard in Rosemount on July 9, 2018.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business showed a truck carrying large boulders without straps. When the truck crossed railroad tracks, one of the boulders flew out of the back of the truck and bounced through the windshield of a vehicle, killing Karen Jean Christiansen, 67, and her daughter Jena Helene Christiansen, 32.

"This was totally preventable if those boulders would have been properly secured, and two lives were lost as a result," said Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom.

In court Thursday, Czeck said he noticed his truck felt different after he went over some railroad tracks.

He acknowledged stopping a short distance down the road, where he waited for about seven  minutes, but did not go back even after realizing something was wrong.

It was police who tracked him down two days later.

"He'll be sentenced for 10 months in the county jail, 6 months of which he will have to serve with no work release privileges, and 4 months he could be released on work release during the days," said Backstrom.

Czeck's attorney said he was hoping to apologize to the victims in court Thursday, but the family wasn't there.

He will be sentenced in January.

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