Accused Drunken Driver Pleads Guilty To Killing Pedestrian

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The driver accused of striking two pedestrians in Dinkytown last year, killing one of them, has pleaded guilty to all criminal counts against him.

The criminal complaint alleged John Peterson, 23, was more than twice the legal limit when the car he was driving hit two people.

University of Minnesota students Kandyce Stoffel and Travis Smith were walking in the roadway early the morning of Oct. 24, because the sidewalk was blocked for construction.

Stoffel, 23, sustained critical injuries in the incident, and later died at the hospital after her family removed her from life support.

Smith was also hospitalized, needing stitches in his arm. He was knocked unconscious when he was hit.

Investigators said Peterson blew a 0.164 in the preliminary breath test. Police also said that he had apparently wet his pants. A witness also told authorities that they had seen Peterson hit on Stoffel at a bar earlier that evening.

There was a third person walking with Stoffel and Smith, Brittany Baron. She said she saw a body go flying and the next thing she knew, her two friends were lying in the street.

Peterson pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal vehicular operation and two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

His sentencing is scheduled for May 9.

  • Victim Du Jour

    It’s also the pedestrians fault for walking on the Street at night.

    • I feel sorry for you, Victim Du Jour

      Kandyce’s father is a friend of mine and I cannot even describe what their entire family is going through. I imagine John Peterson and his family are going through much of the same. To put inane, immature comments on these types of articles for your own childish amusement is really sad.

      • Victim Du Jour

        Walking in traffic, while under the influence of alcohol contributed to this accident too.

        My comment is not immature, it’s a scientific fact.

        • reality check.

          Unfortunately I am related to a victim in this instance and it is terrible. I am saddened that rather than pray and think of those that are suffering you are blaming those that can either no longer speak for themselves or are trying to recover from the tragedy they have experienced. Immediately after the accident a sign was posted about not walking on that side and in fact the lane they were walking in was closed to traffic which Mr. Peterson ignored. It is nice to know people out there have the heart to speak up for those that can’t however it is quite sad that because I am sure you have not experienced tragedy like this you can blame pedestrians walking on the street that were hit by someone who was driving a car who was twice past the legal limit. And I do hope that you never experience something so tragic.

    • You're pathetic

      Where does it say the pedestrians were under the influence> Just because they were college-aged and out late? Your comment is immature, because it is not fact. Where exactly did you get your “scientific fact” from? NAme your source. You just put your silly comments on here to amuse yourself at other people’s expense. Hope you are never have to go through what those families are going through.

    • captainobvious

      They were walking on the street because the sidewalk was closed, Victim du jour do you breathe on your own, day in and day out you contribute nothing here or in society

  • JKB

    Give him credit for taking responsibility for his actions. I hope this brings peace to the victims family, and to the surviving young person. Now lets hope Peterson recognizes the influence alcohol had on his actions, and does something constructive to deal with the problem itself.

  • Bobby D

    Why is he being charged with 2 counts of criminal vehicular homicide? Only one person died.

    • WalkAMile...

      It’s in the wording of the statues–two different counts for the same thing. Usually one count would get pled way, but it sounds like Mr. Peterson is taking ultimate responsibility for his actions and decided to plead to both. That will be considered in his sentencing and he will not get “double” punishment. While I don’t respect his original actions, he made a mistake and admitted it. I have a lot of respect for what he is doing now.

      • WalkAMile...

        Oops, meant statutes, not statues…

  • No Victim, you blew this one too

    Since when it is someones fault for walking on a street Victim? There was friggen construction of sidewalks going on. Every day thousands of cars and students trekked that way. One one occiaision was someone hurt. Guess what – the dude was smashed. Duh
    And you placing blame on students – you are a true piece of work here, day in and day out, with some of your insane comments.

    I feel for the kid as unlike so many he accepts what he did. Yet he was drunk, someone died and others seriously injured too so he owes the system some time.
    Hope he does well in future and wish him well. I

    • Victim Du Jour

      Walking in traffic under the influence contributed to this accident too.

      • Is Victim Du Jour a liar?

        Prove it. Where did you get this information from?

      • Victim Du Jour

        When they first reported this accident, the news story said both the victims and the driver were at the same drinking establishment prior to the driver hitting the victims.

        The Story also made it sound like the driver was showing interest in the victim at the bar.

      • Point?

        What exactly is your point Victim? Do you think it makes either families feel better to point out your alleged “facts”? What is it that you’re trying to prove? This article speaks of a young man who made a mistake and is taking responsibility for it. Are you trying to make him feel better? I bet it’s not doing so. If the pedestrians had been under the influence, which so far hasn’t been proven and I don’t want to take your word for it, that makes his drinking and driving less of the crime it is? If that were true, he probably wouldn’t be pleading guilty to all the charges. But it seems he is more of a grown up than you could ever hope to be…

      • really?

        You are aware that you can be in a bar and not be drinking alcohol, right? What is the definition of under the influence, one drink? two drinks? How do you know how much, if any, the girl had to drink??

      • Victim Du Jour

        I am sure there was a sign directing people to use the sidewalk across the street.

        That’s usually what I read when I see “sidewalk closed”

      • Victim Du Jour = Idiot

        You can’t just make up “facts” because you want to. Being “sure” and knowing are two completely different things. Were you there when the accident happened, so you have every single detail? Guessing Not. But again, you have this incessant need to throw out comments that in your weird little world must be true because you think so. Can you read an article without having to make a comment, or are you just a narcicisstic b_____d who has to see your stupid moniker in print all the time?

  • Tim P

    He manned up unlike most.
    He’ll do time
    Let’s hope and pray he manages to get it together afterwards.
    It’s a load and burden of guilt he’ll always carry on his shoulders and a truly stupid and dumb thing he did when he put the key in the ignition. He’s honest enough to acknowledge that.
    My prayer go out to the families of all involved here. It happened and now lets let it be

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