WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — A Minnesota woman has been sentenced to a year in prison for a North Dakota rollover accident that killed a passenger.

The Wahpeton Daily News reports that Melanie Flegel also was ordered to serve two years of probation.

The 39-year-old woman from Dilworth, Minn., pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of negligent homicide in the November 2008 death of Rick Santiago of Fargo. She initially had been charged with manslaughter.

Authorities say Flegel was driving a van that went into a ditch and rolled while en route from a casino near Hankinson to Fargo.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (20)
  1. Jackie Santopietro says:

    Unless there is an extremely good reason for this, what a waste of North Dakota tax dollars…

  2. Willow says:

    So beware if you have an accident that wasn’t your fault, you will be jailed for it. Nice message to send. It says nowhere in this article that she was taking drugs or drinking or driving like 100 mph, therefore it must have been really an accident.

    I guess our society has no compassion at all.

    1. JamieinMN says:

      That’s not true. Do a little Google search before you make assumptions:


  3. ronin says:

    I have to say that is out of the norm, well at least for the rest of the world. As a former cop I’ve never seen this done before, if it were an “accident”.

  4. DUI and no seat belt says:

    The Wahpeton Daily News says that she “pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, a class C felony” and it appears she was DUI that was dropped for some sort of plea bargin. She and two others were out drinking. The man killed was in the middle of the front seat without a seat belt.

  5. MNSUX says:

    There is no such thing as an accident. Let’s look at this way. In order for a single vehicle accident to occur, the driver of the vehicle has made some sort of mistake. That makes it the drivers fault. Whether they were impaired or not is irrelevant. Driving a vehicle safely is a simple thing. Pay attention, use good judgement and watch out for the other guy. Therefore, if you are driving a vehicle and it is involved in a single vehicle crash, it is your fault. DON”T TEXT AND DRIVE YOU IDIOTS.

    1. JamieinMN says:

      Ummmm, who are you calling idiots??? Pretty sure she wasn’t texting…..

      1. Sandy says:

        But the newpaper said she was texting

      2. JamieinMN says:

        It said she was reaching for her cellphone when she swerved….

    2. Jenna says:

      So I am guessing if one has a heart attack or some other medical emerg. then they are at fault!? SInce there are no accidents.. there are such things as accidents, but unfort. there are people out there that do make careless mistakes but no one has given you that right to make the judging call, so grow up and gain some intellegance. Also, stating “MN sux” certainly is irrelevant to the topic.

      1. MNSUX says:

        Gain some intellegance? What the heck is intellegance? Oh, you mean Intelligence, idiot. MNSUX was not part of the topic. It is my personal philosophy. By the way, are you Jenna Jameson the porn star?

    3. Chuck says:

      Stick to the facts and the story please.

  6. DMBSUX says:

    “There is no such thing as an accident” Brain of a salamander

    1. Chris says:

      Thanks for the info as these people get on tangents that are unrelated…
      Isn’t it obvious that she was not innocent in this and should get penalized?

      1. JamieinMN says:

        Exactly. People don’t get sent to prison for simply causing an accident. It was obvious that there was more to the story.

  7. LA says:

    idiots are idiots that text while driving, if you text then YOU ARE an idiot. take offense? then quit texting while driving if you do or anyone else. that simple. LA

    1. Chuck says:

      Please stick to the story and rant at another time.

  8. Rebecca says:

    This is not her first DUI, she was under the influence and he was in the back seat of the van I know her history and they only dropped the DUI because of the plea and yes she was reaching for her cell phone… She needs to realize that she took a life and left two kids with out a father that was very much in their lives. She has kids as well but obviously drinking and driving is nothing new to her. I pray to God she thinks long and hard while in prison of her actions… He normally did wear his seat belt but this night for some reason he didn’t and now he is gone R.I.P to my brother……. Mel was a friend of his but yet did not take responsibility by not drinking since it was her car and she was driving…. Maybe this will stop her from drinking and driving. more then 2 times on the DUI so yeah………….

  9. Rebecca says:

    as for an accident NO accident, when its my car and I go out with my friends I do NOT drink because I know the responsibility that I have to people out there and to my friends…….. its called RESPONSIBILITY yet Mel didn’t see nothing wrong with drinking and driving………. NO she didn’t plan on this but she made the decision to drink, as for the cell phone and drinking yes she made choices that landed her in prison but its about time finally she sat some time for her drunk driving. instead of hand slapped….

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