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

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.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Kent says:

    This it?
    Four years for intentionally killing someone?
    There are hundreds of people in prison longer than him for having an addiction.
    This is a joke!

    1. Matt says:

      Where does it say he intentionally killed someone? At the time of the accident it was raining and the victims were walking in the middle of the road in the dark. The driver was wrong for driving while drunk, but any other driver could have just as easily hit the victims under the circumstances.

      1. Pickwick says:

        Intention began the moment he decided to drive while drunk. I have no pity for people who do this. Four years is an insult to the victim and her family. We need to toughen the DWI laws.

    2. captainobvious says:

      Earth to KENT they were walking on the street he was drunk n hit them, this is diff case than the 1 last month, but i bet you’re very sharp still

      1. betty says:

        Your explanation is stupid. So they were wallking on the street and he was drunk. So that means anyone walking on the street, a driver figures what the heck there are on the street I will hit them. Get drunk drivers off the street!

    3. Victim Du Jour says:

      The Sidewalk was closed, and the victim was walking in traffic.

      You are mixed up with a more recent hit and run that caused the death of a young man.

      The news doesn’t mention anything about the missing signs required by law for closed sidewalks.

    4. Sheila says:

      John Peterson is a friend of our family. He is one of the nicest men you will ever meet. He would NEVER intentionally hurt anyone! He made a really bad choice to drive that night. I’m SO SORRY for the victims family, but I am also sorry for John and his family. They are all really good people. Just make sure not to make the same mistake he did to drink and drive. He is about the LAST person I could have seen this happening to.

      1. K says:

        A REALLY BAD CHOICE?? YOU THINK? I DON’T CARE HOW NICE YOU THINK HE WAS–THE JUDGE SAID THAT THERE WAS MINIMAL REMORSE FROM HIM–NO EXPRESSION AFTER WHAT HE DID, AND WE ALL WORKED WITH HIM AT THE OLIVE GARDEN MAPLEWOOD, AND HE WAS NOT THE NICEST OF PEOPLE AT ALL…THE MANGER ALLOWED HIM TO REMAIN WORKING THERE AS WELL AFTER THIS INCEIDENT OCCURRED WHICH WE ALL THOUGHT WAS NOT RIGHT AS WELL. THE FAMILY THAT WILL NEVER SEE THEIR LOVED ONE AGAIN IS WHO WE ALL FEEL FOR..JOHN PETERSON WILL SEE HIS FAMILY AGAIN. HOW VERY SAD FOR SUCH A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL TO HAVE HER LIFE TAKEN FROM HER OVER THIS MAN CHOOSING TO GET BEHIND THE WHEEL..4 YEARS IS NOT ENOUGH..WE ALL KNOW ITS NOT ENOUGH..SO YOU CAN SIT THERE AND THINK ABOUT IT JOHN PETERSON. YOU WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE MAN UPSTAIRS ONE DAY. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY YOUR FAMILY PUT INTO THIS LAWYER SITUATION–WHAT YOU DID WAS FLAT OUT HORRIBLE AND YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITH YOURSELF.

    5. Joey says:

      Before the judge sentenced this guy, people were on here saying 15 yrs. I said 6 years minus the good behavior would be less than 4 1/2. I was right. We can’t forget these sentences. This happens all the time in MN. 4 yrs and he will be out in about 2 1/2. DON’T FORGET THESE STORIES. You can ask someone what they think a sentence would be for a crime like this and they will say 15-20. NO IT’S NOT. We need to take a stronger stand against these behaviors and vote for judges that do.

  2. swerver says:

    Bad Situation for every1, feel bad for the girl and her family, but as some1 who thoroughly enjoys drinking these stories have 2 make you try to be as smart as you can, and not get behind the wheel, amazing he would have been better off getting 18dwis instead, that only got the guy the other day 1year, amazing that judges and counties vary so much

  3. Tea Diz-Nee says:

    @Kent…I AGREE! He said he WANTED to hit them!!!

    So the kids he hit may have been kind of “jerkish”…..but in NO WAY did they DESERVE to get HOT!

    I would say we need to throw this A-Hole off a cliff….but with those ears…he would just fly away!

    DUMBO……fits this guy……

    1. Matt says:

      @Tea, the article says that a witness heard the driver HIT ON the victim, NOT state that he wanted to hit her with his car.

      1. prior story says:

        But after the accident….he made a statement he WANTED to hit them……or was not sorry he hit them..one of the two…..

        1. JamieinMN says:

          I think you and ALOT of people on here are confused with the OTHER incident that happened with I believe 4 young adults who were hit, that caused the death of a young MAN. In that situation, there was an “incident” at the bar and the driver wanted revenge.This is NOT that story.

    2. captainobvious says:

      Hey fool this isnt the same case from last month, thatrs the case where the guy said he wanted to hit them, dah you think they arrested him 2 weeks ago and the case is over in 2 weeks. Mr. brilliant

      1. tea was WRONG! says:

        Capt…..you are right..and when your right your right!

        100% MY BAD!!!! Sorry!

        1. captainobvious says:

          Its fine, i just think sometimes people comment without reading article, its a little foolish.

    3. Ben Pettersen says:

      Your immaturity of calling him names shows that the justice you wish for is idiotic. You appear to be uneducated and angry. (spelling and exclamation points).
      John NEVER said that he wanted to hit them.

  4. Babbie says:

    “Police also said that he had apparently wet his pants. ” – Was that necessary to publish?

    1. Meanjeans says:

      I was wondering the same thing…I dont think this information was necessary

      1. BeBlessed! says:

        I think they are trying to show that he was scared and didn’t do it intentional.

    2. JamieinMN says:

      Lol of course it’s necessary! That’s hilarious. It makes him that much more loserish.

  5. Travis says:

    Again… this is NOT the same case as the U student that was killed by the guy who intentionally hit him after a bar argument. Although this was not intentional, I do agree 4 years is far to light of a sentence.

  6. Matt says:

    The victims were walking in traffic, in the dark, while it was raining. The driver shouldn’t have been driving while drunk, but the next car could have hit them just as easily. Some of the blame should be on the victims as well, they weren’t exactly using common sense.

  7. Patrick Shull says:

    The reason why this idiot only got 4 years is because our politicians made it a law 50 years ago that anyone who drinks and drives and kills somebody only gets a few years if that in prison. The reason is, well look at how many politicians who have killed people with their cars while being drunk. Here is one case, Senator Ted Kennedy, killed his secretary while being completely drunk and got no time at all, Governor of North Dakota killed someone while being drunk with his car, and there are many many many more cases like this that politicians have killed someone while being drunk. They need to change this law to 17 years or longer just like what everyone else gets for murdering someone with some other means than being drunk and in a car.
    But like the old saying is if you really hate someone and want them dead get drunk, hop in your car and run them over and you won’t get squat for time in prison if any at all. Point made with this case.

    1. moreobvious says:

      Living birth defect, he never tried to hit them.

    2. Ben P says:

      You have no clue about what you are speak of. After the accident, John has yet to drink alcohol. He is devastated by this event. He didn’t hate her, is was mere coincidence. The people said that the visibility on the street was horrible. John should not have been driving while drunk, but look up the DWI rate in MN. The rate and this even are both tragic.

  8. Sharon Bowers says:

    Only four years? You’re kidding, right?

  9. Victim Du Jour says:

    Kandyce Stoffel was an attractive young woman, and I bet lots of people had a crush on her.

    It’s heart breaking to see a construction project and a drunk driver claimed her life.

    Based on other accidents in that area claiming the lives of people, perhaps the city and campus can find a way to ensure pedestrians and bicycles the right of way.

  10. BeBlessed! says:

    It is so sad that you are being so rude to one another. The confussion is that when you look at the article it shows a young man, then when it opens it shows the young female. Bottom like be aware and don’t drive while drinking.

    1. crazyfamily says:

      The confusion is last month a guy purposely ran over another guy, making this obviously not the case. So il consider myself blessed I can read and realize this is a diff. case. good luck to you

  11. blahdahgah says:

    Bottom like be aware ?? that hurts my head to read

    1. BeBlessed! says:

      My point….”Hurt your head over a typo!! BOTTOM LINE Is that better for you? Grow up, your missing the point!

  12. Seriously says:

    My point right there. Over a typo.. BOTTOM LINE Is that better for you?? Missed the point. smdh

  13. markH says:

    And there you have it folks; this is why driving drunk still continues-our laws regard killing another while driving drunk as an “accident.” If this person had walked into a bar and fired random shots (with it proven that he didn’t actually INTEND to kill anyone, just loved firing into crowded rooms) and ended up killing another human being, he would have been sentenced to at least 25 years. But for some sickening reason, we call killing innocent people while driving drunk an accident. It’s NOT an accident-it is a willful act of disregard for human life-no different than firing a gun into a crowded room. Part of the problem is that states allow persons to drive as long as their BAC is below a certain level; leaving a drunk in the unique yet impossible position of judging his own sobriety. If our laws mandated a ZERO BAC level with large fines and mandatory 6-8 months in jail for first offenders, I’d stake my life that most (not all, but certainly most) who intend on going out and “getting hammered” would make necessary provisions prior to embarking on their crusade of self destruction.

  14. Fact says:

    So Mark H. you expect a successful and responsible husband and wife who drive 30 miles downtown for a nice dinner and 1 glass of wine, to take a $70 cab ride home, then drive back the next day and get heir vechicle. Most people know 2 drinks is realisticly all you should drink if u hope 2 drive, every1 else is hoping they get lucky, im not proud, but ive drove drunk, I just have to hope i’l make better decisions when needed. Liquor is not going anywhere nor will the law prolly be reduced any lower, the government needs this money from alcohol

  15. A Friend says:

    You people better make sure you are commenting on the right stories. For all of you that cant even figure out which person you are even talking about…. Try again…. you’re not very bright! John is a friend of mine and a great guy! He made a terrible mistake for sure and now he has to deal with his actions! Don’t act like you know him or his heart and what really happened. He didn’t intentionally murder someone. If you think a person who has the intent to kill and someone who makes a bad choice are the same thing…. try again. Im not excusing his actions by any means but people make poor choices every day. It’s terrible this had to end with a life but I hope stories like this give everyone a reality check and keep you from making these kind of decisions! I know thats what he wants!

  16. Denny Peterson says:

    Denny Peterson, I feel Bad for all involved…John, I believe I am your Uncle. Your Father and I never got along (like Brother should). I confess I have gotten drunk and drove in my life (But never hurt anyone or anything, by the Grace of GOD). I went in the Military to try and make Amens, for my past, and came out 100% Disabled Vet. I pray that the Grace of God be on all the People that Now have to live with this Cross to Bare. Denny

  17. jez says:

    Four years for killing a female. How is this different than in Africa or the Middle East?

  18. Katofriend says:

    I knew Kandyce since middle school. She was an articulate, caring, beautiful, and just an all around good person. To all of you idiots who commented they shouldn’t of been in the road, THE SIDEWALK WAS CLOSED! And even though it was dark and raining, of you have your lights on and are paying attention, you wouldn’t hit anyone. This John character took an amazing person from this world, 4 years is a damn joke. He should get a minimum of 20 years, without parole. And “Ben P”, it would only be expected that he wouldn’t of drank since then.

    RIP Kandyce

    1. K says:

      I completely agree. Why would you even attempt to get behind the wheel if you knew you had alcohol in your system? This is suckh a sad, ttrgic, and sickening on the part of John Peterosn. He should have gotten exactly what you just have posted.

  19. Sarah in Outstate Mn says:

    The whole situation is sad. Please don’t drink and drive. Please.

    And Slow Down.

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