Woman gets nearly 5 years for DWI that killed motorcyclist


A Lakeville woman was sentenced to nearly five years in prison Wednesday for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist last year, KARE 11 reports.

Leah Marie Colwell, 45, had a blood alcohol level of .36 – more than four times the legal limit of .08 – when the accident occurred last June on 160th Street near Harwell Avenue in Apple Valley. Police say Colwell turned left into the path of a motorcycle driven by Jeffrey Trondson, 29, of Burnsville, who crashed into the passenger door of Colwell’s car. He died at the scene.

Colwell pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide on May 1, WCCO reports, and was released from custody. She was jailed again after testing positive for methamphetamines while out on bail, according to KARE 11.

In court Wednesday, Judge Michael Mayer told Colwell that she had her chance and "blew it" before sentencing her to 57 months in prison, KARE 11 reports.

Trondson loved riding his motorcycle, according to family members. His father, David Williams, was in court for Colwell's sentencing hearing.

He told KARE 11 afterwards that his family is satisfied Colwell received the maximum sentence, but added that nothing can bring his son back.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom released a statement afterward.

"This is another tragic example of the extreme dangers of drinking and driving. We are pleased to have brought this defendant to justice for this preventable crime."

According to the latest statistics from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 117 people died in Minnesota in 2013 as a result of crashes involving alcohol. Another 2,300 were injured.

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