Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The widows of two workers killed in a construction zone on Interstate-35W feel satisfied with the sentence given to the driver whose car that hit their husbands.
Kirk Deamos will spend 30 days in jail and have to complete 200 hours of community service as part of a plea deal that the families of Craig Carlson and Ron Rajkowski worked out with Dakota County prosecutors.
Deamos hit and killed both men when he lost control of his car near Burnsville, Minn., in October of 2011.
Deb Carlson and Jodi Rajkowski’s friendship was formed out of their darkest hour.
“We didn’t know each other. We knew of each other. Our husbands worked together a lot,” Carlson said.
Ron and Craig were hit and killed when Deamos lost control of his vehicle. He told authorities he overcorrected while trying to avoid a concrete barrier on I-35W.
His charge was careless driving. Both Carlson and Rajkowski wanted justice, but Minnesota law would only go so far.
“In the end, there wasn’t a whole lot that could be done, because it was a misdemeanor,” Carlson said.
In an agreement worked out with the family, Deamos pleaded guilty on Wednesday. Both families wanted an emphasis on community service.
“We felt community service would impact him more than jail,” Rajkowski said.
Deamos gave no statement during the sentencing, though the women weren’t expecting an apology.
“I don’t know that it would have made any difference, given that, I looked at him and did see remorse,” Carlson said.
Fifteen months after the life-changing crash, the widows’ focus is no longer on what they’ve lost, but what they hope to change.
“We obviously can’t do anything for Craig or Ron, but hopefully this doesn’t happen to another life or family,” Rajkowski said.
Both women plan to bring their fight to the State Capitol during this legislative session. They’re fighting for slower speed limits in construction zones and stiffer penalties for careless driving violations.