Skip to main content

4-year sentence for drunk driver who killed popular high school student

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Sandstone man has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for driving while drunk and causing the traffic accident that killed a popular teenager in February.

Charles Hendricks, 34, was sentenced Friday in Kanabec County District Court on one count of criminal vehicular homicide after pleading guilty to the charge in September, KBJR 6 reports.

The accident killed 17-year-old Colton Nelson, who was a senior at East Central High School, and injured two passengers in his car.

Authorities say Hendricks was driving drunk on the night of Feb. 9 when his pickup truck crossed the center line and hit Nelson's car head on.

Nelson was killed in the crash, while his sister and a friend sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

According to the criminal complaint, Hendricks was found by police “covered in blood, crawling on the ground” and yelling: “What did I do? What did I do? I killed someone.”

Hendricks will receive credit for the 271 days he has already served, and must pay $11,000 in restitution, KSTP reports.

Nelson was a standout football and basketball player at East Central, and had been chosen homecoming king the previous fall.

His death caused an outpouring of grief in the small town of Sandstone, which is about an hour south of Duluth on I-35, and more than 1,000 people attended his funeral.

Next Up


Hospital chiefs say nursing strike will come at 'worst possible time'

A nurses union announced an almost three-week strike to take place in the Twin Cities.


Sven Sundgaard: What's in store for MN's weather in December?

Sundgaard recaps Minnesota's fall and looks ahead to December.


Manure spill in Wisconsin leads to hours-long main street disruption

The spill was first reported just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.


Ice Cube to perform 2 nights at Mystic Lake Casino

The rapper hasn't performed in Minnesota since 2018.


Nicollet Mall's new Ties Lounge & Rooftop closes 'indefinitely'

The establishment aimed to reconnect the downtown community.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.15.44 AM

Chinese restaurant closing after 50 years in Columbia Heights

The beloved family-owned restaurant will close Dec. 24.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.43.40 AM

Kris Laudien leaving KARE 11 after four years on 'Sunrise'

KARE 11 announced the appointment of Jason Hackett to the morning show this week.