Balaton man sentenced for 2015 serious injury crash
WORTHINGTON -- After thorough consideration, a Balaton man received a stay of imposition of 12 months and one day and three years supervised probation after pleading guilty to felony criminal vehicular operation while under the influence, causing...
WORTHINGTON - After thorough consideration, a Balaton man received a stay of imposition of 12 months and one day and three years supervised probation after pleading guilty to felony criminal vehicular operation while under the influence, causing substantial bodily harm.
As part of the plea agreement, Trent Minett, 21, will not be required to serve additional jail time. Four other charges filed after the November 2015 crash in rural Nobles County were dismissed. He was also ordered to community service, write a letter of apology to the victim and attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel.
The charges stem from an early morning crash on a gravel road northeast of Adrian. Minett, who was 19 at the time, and his passenger had been drinking at a party. When they left, Minett attempted to navigate on unfamiliar rural roads to a friend’s house, the criminal complaint states.
He was traveling approximately 60 miles per hour when he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll four times before coming to a rest in a nearby pasture, the complaint continues.
Minett and his passenger were transported to the Sanford Worthington Emergency Room. Due to the extent of her injuries, the passenger was then airlifted to Sioux Falls, S.D. by medical helicopter.
She was diagnosed with facial trauma and a considerable amount of blood loss. She also broke her arm and had several lacerations on her face and head that required stitches.
Before being sentenced Tuesday in Nobles County District Court, Fifth Judicial District Judge Gordon Moore asked Minett if he has remained friends with the victim. Minett replied that they had remained friends for about three months after the crash before she seemed uninterested in keeping in contact.
Moore asked Minett if he thought his involvement in the crash was the cause of breaking the friendship. He responded that the victim made it seem as though he was the only one responsible for the crash, adding that she told him she could find the way to their destination but then ended up getting him lost.
“She didn’t have to get in my car,” he said. “She made that decision.”
Moore also asked Minett about his three convictions in Lyon County District Court since the 2015 crash in Nobles County. Those include underage drinking and driving and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia,
“It creates the impression that you either don’t get it or you don’t care,” Moore said. “What is it going to take to get it through your head to realize actions have serious consequences?”
Minett said he was required to pay fines on each of the three cases and that he has never participated in a chemical dependency program.
Moore asked Minett if he felt he had a chemical-dependency problem.
“I wouldn’t say a problem, but I enjoy it,” Minett said, clarifying that he meant marijuana.
Moore called Minett’s behavior shocking, and said it was with great reluctance and grave reservations that he accepted Minett’s plea agreement.
Because of the victim’s lack of response to the county attorney’s office and being seemingly disinterested in the case, not accepting the plea agreement could result in the charges being dropped altogether, prosecutor Matthew Loeffler warned.
Moore told Minett he realized he was hard on him during the hearing, but as a 21-year-old, Minett had a lot of life ahead of him and Moore hated to see someone in his court on matters related to drug and alcohol use.
“I guess it’s in the best interest of the justice system to allow you to prove me wrong,” Moore said. “To be blunt, Mr. Minett, the party’s over here.”