Drunk Driver With BAC Four Times Over Legal Limit Learns Her Fate

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Minnesota drunk driver who was four times over the legal limit when she struck and killed a driver last year was sentenced to 57 months in prison Wednesday.

Leah Colwell, 45, pleaded guilty to felony vehicular homicide in the death of 29-year-old Jeff Trondson. Her car collided with Tronsdon’s motorcycle in Apple Valley on June 27, 2013.

When she was arrested, Colwell had a blood alcohol level of 0.360. Police described her as incoherent and unsteady on her feet, KTSP reported.

Colwell posted bail, but she was re-incarcerated when she tested positive for meth.

Prosecutors said Colwell has a string of prior alcohol-related arrests dating back to 1990.

Trondson’s family planned on asking the judge for a penalty of 10 years, the maximum penalty in neighboring Wisconsin. But the maximum in Minnesota is just 57 months.

Dakota County Judge Michael Mayer sentenced her to the state maximum, approximately 4.75 years in jail. She was also ordered to pay restitution, but the amount has not yet been determined.

Trondson’s relatives were disappointed by the sentence.

"My son was my hunting partner, my fishing partner, my riding partner, my best friend," his father Dave Williams told My Fox Twin Cities. "I lost a lot."

"I don't think I've cried yet," said family member Ryan Dehn. "I can't call him. I have yet to delete his number in my phone because I can't."

Prosecutors considered the max sentence a victory.

“This is another tragic example of the extreme dangers of drinking and driving,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. “We are pleased to have brought this defendant to justice for this preventable crime. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Jeff Trondson for their great loss.”

Sources: My Fox Twin Cities, KTSP