Man who crashed into kids at playground pleads guilty

He was fleeing police at the time, and caused serious injuries to two of the children.
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The man who crashed his car into three children at a Minneapolis playground while fleeing police has pleaded guilty.

Kabaar Powell Jr., 27, made a plea deal with prosecutors that saw him plead guilty to two counts of fleeing a peace officer resulting in bodily harm.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says he's expected to be sentenced to 21 months for one count and 12 months for the other, to be served consecutively.

However, as part of the plea deal, Powell Jr. agreed to aggravating factors that will allow for a more severe sentence to be imposed when he has his sentencing hearing on Aug. 16.

Powell Jr. was fleeing police in an SUV when he barreled into a playground area at Bohannon Park last month, approaching the Peltier family as they played on a basketball court.

He ran over St. Paul 2-year-old Kayden Pelter and his 4-year-old sister Lillianna, causing them serious injuries, including brain bleeding, a spine fracture and a fractured pelvis to Kayden.

Lillianna had a hematoma on her forehead and a hemorrhage between the brain and the tissue covering it, while their 3-year-old brother, Konnor, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

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The injuries suffered by Kayden were the most severe, with the Star Tribune providing an update earlier this week, saying he's been allowed to come home but is still wearing a halo brace to hold his head while he heals.

A GoFundMe page set up to help the Peltier family with their mounting medical bills has so far raised more than $34,000.

After the guilty plea was entered by Powell Jr., Freeman said: "Mr. Powell’s reckless actions seriously injured one child, hurt another and had the potential to cause even greater damage since there were other children playing at the park with their dad."

"This didn’t have to happen, but we are pleased that Mr. Powell pleaded guilty and agreed to the aggravating factors in this case, which will allow for a more severe sentence than called for by the Minnesota sentencing guidelines."

During the police chase, which prompted a debate over what situations police decide to pursue a suspect in residential areas, Powell Jr. ran at least 22 stop signs as he reached speeds above 80mph.

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The June 2018 chase ended in a crash that injured three children.