Juvenile faces three felony criminal vehicular counts
A 17-year-old boy who was driving the car involved in a crash that killed two Burnsville teens on Aug. 21, 2012, was charged on June 12 in juvenile court with three criminal vehicular felonies and a misdemeanor.
Killed in this one-vehicle rollover on Buck Hill Road were Frederick Jeffrey Alexander, 16, and Alesha Katherine Roehl, 17, both of Burnsville and students at the Area Learning Center in Lakeville.
The crash also resulted in injuries to two males, a 16-year-old resident of Lakeville and a 17-year-old resident of Burnsville.
The driver was charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide (involving gross negligence), criminal vehicular operation (involving gross negligence resulting in substantial bodily harm) and gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation (involving gross negligence resulting in bodily harm).
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said that this case is being filed under Minnesota’s extended juvenile jurisdiction statute, which will provide a stayed adult prison sentence if the driver is convicted of these crimes and extend the juvenile court’s jurisdiction over the case until the individual convicted of the crimes reaches age 21.
“This case appears to be an example of how quickly an inexperienced driver can lose control of a vehicle if speeding and driving recklessly,” Backstrom said. “This also underscores the importance for all persons in a vehicle to wear a seat belt. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the families and friends of Frederick Alexander and Alesha Roehl for their great loss.”
The juvenile petition filed on June 12 alleges that the driver was driving in a grossly negligent manner when traveling southbound on Buck Hill Road at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The accident reconstruction completed by the Minnesota State Patrol estimated that the vehicle was traveling 96 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone when it became airborne. The driver lost control of the vehicle that spun around 180 degrees and hit the curb. The vehicle then rolled six or seven times end-over-end down an adjacent hill, landing on the southbound lanes of I-35.
Alexander was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.
Roehl was ejected from the car and was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, where she died at 7:42 p.m. that evening.
A 17-year-old male was also ejected from the car and received a severe laceration to his right arm, among other injuries.
The three passengers ejected were in the back seat of the vehicle and not wearing seat belts.
The driver and a 16-year-old male in the front seat of the vehicle were wearing their seat belts and were not ejected from the car. The driver had just gotten the vehicle four or five days prior to this incident.
The investigation revealed that the driver was weaving back and forth while accelerating. The driver told investigators that he thought it would be fun to swerve back and forth while driving and that he must have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake before he lost control of the car.
The front seat passenger told investigators that the driver sped up and started to swerve back and forth before losing control of the car. The passenger told him to slow down before the crash occurred.
– Tad Johnson