Unusual sentence: Man gets a weekend in jail for next 10 years


A Winona County District Court judge handed down an uncommon sentence for a 21-year-old Minnesota City man who was convicted in a crash that killed Ruth Doris Brendel, 85, of Winona.

Robert John Tofstad pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide last year.

The Winona Daily News says on the morning of Feb 19, 2012, Tofstad, who was 19 at the time, was behind the wheel of a car that struck Brendel as she was walking to a Sunday church service in downtown Winona.

The woman died at the hospital later that day.

Investigators said the right side of the car's windshield and all the side windows were frosted over, preventing Tofstad from seeing anything to the right of his vehicle where Brendel had been walking.

Tofstad had a blood-alcohol content of 0.014 percent from "a few drinks" the night before, the newspaper reported.

Judge Jeffrey D. Thompson sentenced Tofstad on Oct. 3 to 60 days in jail and 10 years probation. Thompson also added a provision that Tofstad spend the weekend closest to Feb. 19, the anniversary of Brendel's death, in jail every year for the duration of his probation.

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