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Drunk Driver Who Hit, Killed ‘U’ Student Gets 4 Years

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By Dennis Douda, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 23-year-old drunk driver, who hit and killed a former University of Minnesota student, was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

Kandyce Stoffel and Travis Smith were walking in the roadway at 12th Avenue and Fourth Street the morning of Oct. 24, 2010 because the sidewalk was blocked for construction.

Friends and witnesses say that’s when John Peterson hit both of them with his car.

“One minute, we were laughing and we turned the corner, she was about five steps ahead of me and then I heard the noise and I saw a body go flying and they were laying in the street,” said Brittany Baron, who was with Stoffel when she was killed.

Stoffel, 23, sustained critical injuries and later died at the hospital after her family removed her from life support. Her family was at the sentencing hearing on Monday and said they wanted Peterson to be sentenced to more than four years in this case.

Smith was also hospitalized, needing stitches in his arm. He was knocked unconscious after being 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 told authorities that they had seen Peterson hit on Stoffel at a bar earlier that evening.

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

Police say Peterson had been drinking — and was more than twice the legal limit — when he ran into Stoffel and killed her.

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