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

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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.

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