6-Month Sentence In Fiery Drunken Driving Crash

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — An intoxicated driver who caused a crash that left a man with severe burns over most of his body has been sentenced in Stearns County to six months in jail.

Twenty-one-year-old Mason Frederick Larson pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation for crashing into the back of Jeffery Hinkemeyer’s Ford Pinto in May 2009 in St. Joseph Township.

Hinkemeyer suffered third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body when the vehicle burst into flames after flipping over in a ditch. The St. Cloud Times says Stearns County District Court Judge Mary Mahler on Monday denied Larson’s request for work release privileges.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Jack Daniels says:

    Wow..6 months..that’ll teach him.

  2. Ben says:

    Only 6 months! I’d go after this guy personally if I were the victim. Or, send Dexter.

  3. L says:

    turn up the heat in his cell and cook him like he did his victim. 6 months? nothing….

  4. Barb says:

    I wonder if this would have been the sentence if it was the Judge’s family member that was burned.

  5. bob says:

    A Ford Pinto?

  6. st paul says:

    awful. What kind of judges are these?????

    1. eastside_evil says:

      Sentencing guidelines. Learn what it means, folks…

  7. Tom says:

    6 months for what he did to this guy, after 6 months he will just be sober. What was the Judge thinking?

    1. eastside_evil says:

      Tom, you probably don’t have any interest in getting an answer to what sounds like was a rhetorical question, but I’ll indulge you as to what the judge was thinking. I have to warn you though.. It’s a bit of a dry read.

      Criminal law defines six levels of criminal vehicular operation (CVO) – all but one constituting felony offenses – depending on the level of injury inflicted:

      criminal vehicular homicide (causing death, but not constituting murder or manslaughter);
      great bodily harm (serious permanent injury);
      substantial bodily harm (temporary substantial injury);
      bodily harm (any pain or injury – a gross misdemeanor);
      death to an unborn child; or
      injury to an unborn child.
      A common element to each of these CVO crimes is that the person causes the specified harm to another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle under any of the following conditions:

      in a grossly negligent manner;
      in violation of any of the elements of regular DWI law; or
      where the driver who causes the accident leaves the scene in violation of Minnesota’s felony fleeing law.
      In practice, most CVO prosecutions involve simultaneous violation of the DWI law.

      Under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, conviction for criminal vehicular homicide or death to an unborn child carries a presumptive commit to prison for 48 months, where the offender has no other criminal history points.

  8. JR says:

    What the story doesn’t mention is that Larson was apparently barely 19 years old at the time of the crash. In other words, illegal to be drinking. Wonder if the person who supplied the alcohol was ever pursued (unless he purchased it with false ID)?

  9. markH says:

    This is precisely the reason that driving drunk is still so prevalent on our nations roadways; our laws do not truly regard driving drunk as a crime. If someone walked into a bar and began firing into a crowd of people, leaving one crippled for life, that person would likely be charged with attempted murder and receive a lengthy prison sentence. But because alcohol is such an integral part of our culture, we look at these perpetrators as having “made a mistake” or worse we let the first one or two violations slide with a slap on the wrist. If we TRULY want to see the drunk driving statistics plummet, we need to implement laws that will make driving drunk analogous to firing a handgun into a crowd; it is a crime of violence that requires long periods of incarceration to protect the community. Peace.

    1. GrannyD says:

      Very well said, I agree totally.

    2. Paul says:

      And the main problem is….firing a handgun into a crowd is not analogous to driving drunk.

      It is very serious offense, reckless, selfish, etc. But thousands of people drive intoxicated every day….and nothing happens. Whereas if a thousand people fired a gun into a crowd 999 are going to seriously injure or kill someone.

      Its a tough issue….and in the end, you really can only punish people for the consequences of their actions. And in this case, the judge failed miserably. Regardless of how the offense occured (drunk driving, arson, prank gone wrong, etc.) the fact remains this man’s actions caused significant, permanant damange to this other guy…and all he got was 6 months. Specific laws and controversy aside……that is an effin JOKE.

      1. markH says:

        According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 33,808 people died in traffic crashes in 2009 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,839 people who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for 32% of all traffic deaths last year, that is, on average someone is killed in an alcohol-impaired driving crash about every 50 minutes in the U.S. (Source: NHTSA/FARS, 2010)

        Paul, I think you’re equivocating here. My point (while not a perfect one) is that both actions demonstrate a wanton disregard for human life and the perpetrator knows full well the possible outcome of his/her actions. If we allow ourselves to use euphemisms like “selfish” and “reckless” we minimize and ignore the fact that driving while intoxicated is a willful and voluntary action and not simply an error in judgement. Incidentally, the above statistics make no mention of the thousand of children who were left without a mother, father or brother. Nor do they even casually mention those maimed, crippled, burned, or otherwise left incapacitated for life due to a drunk driver. For that matter, no mention is made of the substantially higher insurance rates we all pay due to drunk driving crashes. Peace.

        1. Jim says:

          I don’t disagree with you markH.

          All i was trying to illustrate is that it is a tough problem. Like everything in the real world…it is not black and white.

          Generally speaking…every action an adult human being takes is a voluntary and willful action. And people make mistakes all the time in their actions, to lesser and greater degrees….most of which can be chalked up to errors in judgment. I think you just personally find errors in judgment related to impaired driving especially egregious.

          So to me, this reverts to what i believe the crux of the issue: The fair and consistent application of laws and punishment (which i believe is your point in all this too). Like you said….If he had fired a gun and injured this person to the same degree, he would have been punished more severely. Which is a travesty and a miscarriage of justice. If careless, selfish, wanton actions lead to another person’s injury….the person responsible should be punished the same regardless of the specifics of how the injury originated. However, I don’t feel that if a person drives home impaired, and nothing special results from that act….that the person be punished the same as the drunk driver who hits and kills someone. Our current system of justice doesn’t allow for the punishment of what-ifs.

          I think we can both agree that justice was not served by sentencing this person to 6 months in prison. It does not help combat the problem of drunk driving and it serves to increase the disparities and inequities in our systems of law, crime and punishment.

  10. Security0207 says:

    Wow !! Only 6 mounths then wonder why people keep drinking and driving. ours laws suck .. what was the judge thinking the poor will be scared for life now thats some kinda justice

    1. eastside_evil says:

      The judge was thinking of the sentencing guidelines. That’s what she was thinking.

      I know you think she should have been able to sentence him to 40 years of hard labor, a $5 million fine, and a public whipping, but you see it just doesn’t work that way.

      1. Jim says:

        Who said that? Who said 40 years hard labor? 5 million dollar fine?

        NO ONE!!! Are you stupid or something buddy?

        All they said was 6 months wasn’t long enough. Why do you invent stuff to start an arguement? I swear to God we are all being Punked by this jackwagon!!

        God forbid your kid is burned over 80% of his body by a drunk driver…..if that ever does happen, imma laugh at the look on your face when the judge says 6 months.

        1. eastside_evil says:

          Wow, Jim. Nice little meltdown there.

          I was making a point that was obviously lost on you.

          Let me make it less ambiguous so you can both comprehend it, and also avoid another embarrassing blowup. And because of my comment, you would laugh at me if a child of mine was hurt by a drunk driver?

          Is that really the type of person you are, Jim? Come on.

  11. red says:

    SICKENING! I FEEL FOR THE MAN THE MAN THAT WAS BURNED

  12. Stephanie says:

    I wish the Judge would have sentenced him to volunteer in a burn unit for six months, (minimum) I’d rather he spent his time there, getting a dose of reality.

    In my opinion, this was such a disrespectful sentence to the injured victim.

    I agree if this driver was not of legal age when driving, doesn’t that tack on something to his sentence?

    The Judge was way too lax in this sentencing.

    1. debbie says:

      I completely agree with stephanie but i think he should have to do the volunteer work for way longer than 6 months more like 6 years . we need to add that kind of punishment to people who committ stupid crimes like that. 6 months in jail laying in bed with nothing to do would be like a vacation for me not punishment.

  13. Michelle says:

    This sentence shows why drunk driving is so prevalent in our society. Even if a drunk driver maims or kills someone, he/she only gets a slap on the wrist. It’s time we get tough on these people!

  14. John says:

    you sck Mary!

      1. eastside_evil says:

        Don’t let the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about stop you, debbie and John.

        1. Debbie says:

          Hey Dumba@& what do you mean i don’t know what i’m talking about? he asked who’s mary and i answered correctly

          1. eastside_evil says:

            My comment was placed out-of-order.

            I wasn’t commenting on your answer. But thanks for calling me names anyway. Shoot first, ask questions later, right?

        2. Peter says:

          STFU eastside evil. You are the single most unwanted, uneducated, moron to post comments on here.

          Do you get that half the stuff you say literally makes no sense? Nobody understands what you are saying!!! So why dont you shut up already?!?!

          1. eastside_evil says:

            Peter, you can’t make me, and your insults don’t hurt me.

            Let me be more clear for you. The judge doesn’t have discretion to sentence the person to a huge sentence, yet you are blaming the judge for not doing it.

            Do you see how that makes you look just a tad bit more uneducated than me? So yes, what I am posting makes sense. I think it’s just a little beyond your grasp.

  15. rj says:

    I agree with both Stephanie and Debbie. The victim has to look at the result of his behavior everyday; the one that caused it should also have to face what a person with those injuries goes through. I had severe burns at one time and the ER staff said it would be a lot less painful to break several bones. I found this true when the nerves were trying to regenerate with no skin covering them.

  16. liberal says:

    being a liberal- it’s not the alcoholics fault! It’s the others guys fault for driving a stinking PINTO. It’s also the states and fed governments fault for not taxing enough and giving everyone free gas and a dump truck to drive to keep us all safe. Feel bad for the guy he got six months- what a crock- he should have got less than 30 days like Donte Stallworth!

  17. ITsOKJusttakeAToke says:

    I wonder if this man would have be burned over 80% if the colprate was high on canibus or a energy drink? Doubt it. Doubt that it this crash would have occured…Wait for it….The liquer companies have their hand in so deep in this goverments pocket. So how do we stop things like this occuring? Banning Alchohol Consumption by those who already have had DUI or other alcholhic offensives. They say driving is a privlegde but i would go on a limb and say so is consumption of alchohol. Obviously this trend isnt going anywhere as long Money and liquer and BIG PHAMRA are in the bed with our congressmen we will still see stupidity across the land.

  18. eastside_evil says:

    You’re blaming the judge for the sentence? Do you think the judge could have just sentenced this guy to 40 years if she wanted to?

    I don’t think most of you know the law and the punishments provided. It isn’t at the judge’s discretion to decide punishment. There are guidelines to follow. Please educate yourselves before you decide the judge should have hung someone for CVO. Come on people.

    Criminal law defines six levels of criminal vehicular operation (CVO) – all but one constituting felony offenses – depending on the level of injury inflicted:

    criminal vehicular homicide (causing death, but not constituting murder or manslaughter);
    great bodily harm (serious permanent injury);
    substantial bodily harm (temporary substantial injury);
    bodily harm (any pain or injury – a gross misdemeanor);
    death to an unborn child; or
    injury to an unborn child.
    A common element to each of these CVO crimes is that the person causes the specified harm to another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle under any of the following conditions:

    in a grossly negligent manner;
    in violation of any of the elements of regular DWI law; or
    where the driver who causes the accident leaves the scene in violation of Minnesota’s felony fleeing law.
    In practice, most CVO prosecutions involve simultaneous violation of the DWI law.

    Under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, conviction for criminal vehicular homicide or death to an unborn child carries a presumptive commit to prison for 48 months, where the offender has no other criminal history points.

    1. RealEastSide Sucker says:

      great, great, great research bubby!! You are a shinning star!!!

      You blabbed on and on about nothing!!! What are the sentencing guidelines for this crime? After your total, nonsensical rant….you produced NOTHING of substance or value to this dialogue. You asked others to “educate themselves” yet you come on here and spit your moronic ignorance.

      Your opinion on here is obviously not respected. You obviously never graduated from high school….and you are SO STUPID…you missed the point of most comments on here. NO ONE CARES what the “guidelines” say…..common sense says 6 months for almost burning someone to death isn’t enough time…..PERIOD. Can you get that through your thick, Neanderthal skull?

      Wow…morons like this do not represent the East Side. We do have people who actually have original thoughts and complex reasoning abilities. I am ashamed to share the human race with eastside. Apparently he thinks he is a tough guy too with his “evil” moniker.

      1. eastside_evil says:

        Hahaha.

        What’s funny is you seek out my comments to try and be an online bully to me, and then you spend your time commenting about how you don’t like my comments.

        It is beyond comical to watch you p1ss down your leg day after day. Thanks for the laughs.

      2. eastside_evil says:

        “What are the sentencing guidelines for this crime?”

        He could have gotten 4 years. That was in my comment.

        Please stay calm and keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.

    2. Alex says:

      than Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines need to be revisited. this is simply not right

      1. eastside_evil says:

        I don’t disagree with you, Alex. What this doofus did was inexcusable and offensive even.

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