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Former Chisago County commissioner's plea deal for fatal crash includes no prison time

Updated: June 26, 2019 07:02 PM

A former Chisago County commissioner charged with criminal vehicular homicide was sentenced Wednesday.

Because of a plea deal, Lora Jean Walker avoided a trial and jail. 

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Court records show Walker was sentenced to 90 days of home detention with electronic monitoring and 10 years of supervised probation.

As part of her probation, she won't be allowed to drive or operate a motor vehicle and must remain law abiding.

Walker, 50, had previously pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide after a wrong-way crash that killed 62-year-old Gary Brisky of Minong, Wisconsin on March 11, 2017

"She is sorry for her actions and understands the pain she (caused) the Brisky family," her attorney Kevin Sieben said. 

According to a criminal complaint, multiple witnesses saw Walker, who was driving north on Interstate 35 near Rush City, enter the southbound lane. Witness reports said multiple drivers honked at her to get her attention. The complaint said she was seen laughing and weaving through lanes on the roadway.

RELATED: Former Chisago County commissioner pleads guilty to criminal vehicular homicide

The complaint alleged Walker traveled approximately seven miles before she struck Brisky's vehicle head-on at 80 miles an hour. 

She told paramedics on scene that she was diabetic and knew her blood sugar levels were low, according to the complaint. First responders reportedly confirmed the fact.

According to the complaint, investigators learned that leading up to the crash, Walker had a home care provider and used a blood sugar monitor that alerted her to her blood sugar levels.

Prior the collision on March 11, Walker reportedly spoke to her mother over the phone, who said she heard an alert that her daughter's blood sugar levels were low.

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Because Walker was a public official at the time, the criminal case was handed off to another county.  The investigation revealed her medical condition was also a factor in a 2009 car crash.  Plus, she had three other episodes of losing consciousness in 2011, 2014 and 2016. 

State records showed she failed to report those health episodes to the Department of Public Safety as required to keep her driver's license.

At the time of the 2017 crash, she had a valid license.  

Wednesday, the judge said even though there were protections in place to make sure Walker didn't go into shock, her judgment was impaired and she drove anyway.

But the judge added that she showed remorse. And that factored into the decision to sentence Walker to 10 years of supervised release. 

"The victim's son supports the plea agreement," said Brian Wold, the prosecutor handling the case. "(The family) mentioned they loved their father very much. It was a terrible loss for everyone - the community included."

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