Man pleads guilty in west central Minn. crash that killed 3 women


The 22-year-old man behind the wheel of a pickup that crashed head-on with a minivan last August, killing three generations of women, pleaded guilty Monday.

The West Central Tribune reports Paul Anthony Wickenhauser of Cokato pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide or operation with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more in the deaths of 68-year-old Marta Stoffers of Atwater, her daughter-in-law, 40-year-old Michelle Hoffman of Eden Prairie and Hoffman's 8-year-old daughter, Julia. Hoffman’s 5-year-old son, Jason, was injured in the crash.

Wickenhauser claimed to have had five to six beers after work on Aug. 17, 2012 before going home and to Dairy Queen. He was traveling westbound on Highway 12 to go to his brother's house in Murdock when he looked down at his cruise control and crossed the centerline before impact.

A preliminary breath test at the scene showed Wickenhauser's blood-alcohol content was 0.07 percent, which would fall under the legal limit of 0.08 percent. But a later blood test showed a BAC of 0.09 percent.

Wickenhauser will be sentenced on Aug. 9 and is likely to receive a 67-month prison sentence as part of a plea deal.

Next Up