Criminal Vehicular Homicide and Injury Charges Filed in Burnsville Crash
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that a 17-year-old juvenile male from Burnsville (hereinafter driver), has been charged in juvenile court with two felony counts of Criminal Vehicular Homicide (involving gross negligence), one felony count of Criminal Vehicular Operation (involving gross negligence resulting in substantial bodily harm) and one gross misdemeanor count of Criminal Vehicular Operation (involving gross negligence resulting in bodily harm) in connection with a crash that occurred on Buck Hill Road in Burnsville on August 21, 2012 which resulted in the death of two teenagers and injuries to two others.
Killed in this incident were Frederick Jeffrey Alexander, age 16, and Alesha Katherine Roehl, age 17, both of Burnsville. This crash also resulted in injuries to two males, a 16-year-old resident of Lakeville, and a 17-year-old resident of Burnsville.
The juvenile petition filed today alleges that the driver was driving in a grossly negligent manner when traveling southbound on Buck Hill Road last August 21st at approximately 2:30 p.m. The accident reconstruction completed by the Minnesota State Patrol estimated that the vehicle was traveling 96 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone when it became airborne. The driver lost control of the vehicle which spun around 180 degrees and hit the curb. The vehicle then rolled six or seven times end-over-end down an adjacent hill, landing on the southbound lanes of I-35. Frederick Alexander was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene. Alesha Roehl also was ejected from the car and was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center where she died at 7:42 p.m. that evening. A 17-year-old male was also ejected from the car and received a severe laceration to his right arm, among other injuries. The three passengers ejected were in the back seat of the vehicle and not wearing seatbelts. The driver and a 16-year-old male in the front seat of the vehicle were wearing their seatbelts and were not ejected from the car. The driver had just gotten the vehicle four or five days prior to this incident. The investigation revealed that the driver was weaving back and forth while accelerating. The driver told investigators that he thought it would be fun to swerve back and forth while driving and that he must have hit the gas pedal instead of the brake before he lost control of the car. The front seat passenger told investigators that the driver sped up and started to swerve back and forth before losing control of the car. The passenger told him to slow down before the crash occurred.
Backstrom stated that this case is being filed under Minnesota’s extended juvenile jurisdiction statute which will provide a stayed adult prison sentence if the driver is convicted of these crimes and extend the juvenile court’s jurisdiction over the case until the individual convicted of the crimes reaches age 21.
Backstrom commented: “This case appears to be an example of how quickly an inexperienced driver can lose control of a vehicle if speeding and driving recklessly. This also underscores the importance for all persons in a vehicle to wear a seatbelt. Our deepest sympathy is extended to the families and friends of Frederick Alexander and Alesha Roehl for their great loss.”
Backstrom thanked the Minnesota State Patrol and the Burnsville Police Department who assisted in this case for their quick and thorough investigation. If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/driver is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.