MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 44-year-old Lakeville woman is accused of driving drunk in an Apple Valley crash last Thursday that left a motorcyclist dead, according to charges filed Monday in Dakota County Court.
Leah Marie Colwell is charged with criminal vehicular homicide, driving after canceled inimical to public safety, fourth-degree DWI and open bottle in connection with the incident that left a 29-year-old dead.
According to the charges, Lakeville and Apple Valley Police were called to a two-vehicle crash involving a motorcycle at about 8:05 p.m. last Thursday near 160th Street and Harwell Avenue. When authorities arrived, the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The motorcyclist had been heading westbound on 160th Street when a Ford Taurus, driven by Colwell, was heading eastbound on 160th Street and turned northbound on Harwell Avenue in front of the motorcycle.
The motorcycle hit the passenger side of the vehicle, killing the rider. A preliminary breath test at the scene showed Colwell had a blood alcohol level of .36, more than four times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota, at the time of the crash. Colwell told police she didn’t have a license but did not know why it had been taken away, the complaint states.
According to the complaint, she told police she was driving from her house to her friend’s house and didn’t see the motorcycle until the crash happened. She told police she had been drinking at her home and had consumed four “captain Cokes” before leaving. Colwell told police she thought she was “alright do drive” and didn’t want her passengers driving because they had consumed more alcohol than she did.
There were two occupants with Colwell in the car at the time of the crash and one of them tried to warn her of the motorcycle before the crash, but it was too late. The complaint states one of the passengers panicked after the crash and threw a bottle of Captain Morgan and a bottle of tequila into a trash can at a nearby residence. Authorities recovered both bottles, and the seal on the Captain Morgan bottle had been broken.
If convicted on all charges, Colwell faces more than 11 years in prison and about $25,000 in fines.