The driver who struck and killed a 56-year-old woman out walking her dog in Blaine last fall has pleaded guilty.
John R. Jones, 31, pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court to criminal vehicular homicide Thursday. He'd been accused of crashing into Bridget OKeefe Dunn on Oct. 25, as she walked her dog along along 109th Avenue Northeast near Flanders Court Northeast.
Dunn suffered "extensive" injuries, the charge say, and was taken to the hospital where she later died. Her dog was uninjured.
Jones, who was arrested later that day, told investigators he believed he'd struck a dog or sign, so drove home to check for any vehicle damage. He did not have a valid license at the time of the collision. A few weeks later, while out on conditional release, he was found passed behind the wheel of a parked car and showed signs of impairment, authorities said, leading to his arrest once again.
Under the terms of the plea deal, Jones will avoid prison time if he abides by the terms of his sentence. He'll spend one year in the workhouse with a subsequent 10 years of probation — the first six months of which will require electronic home monitoring. Jones will also take part in a rehabilitation program.
If Jones violates any terms of his probation he could face up to 81 months in prison, the Anoka County Attorney's Office told Bring Me The News.
The office also said Dunn's family was "involved in the decision-making process" and supports the plea deal. Dunn's husband, Chris Dunn, spoke with FOX 9 to explain why the family gave its blessing for the terms.
The attorney's office said it won't be commenting further until after sentencing, which is set for March 24.
If Jones had been convicted in a trial, he would have faced 10 years in prison.