MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Cokato man accused of drunkenly causing a car crash that killed three generations of a family last year pleaded guilty on Monday in Kandiyohi County.
County Attorney Jenna Fischer said Paul Wickenhauser will serve 67 months in prison – about 5 1/2 years – after pleading guilty to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide.
The victims’ families helped agree upon the length of the sentence, and sentencing is set for Aug. 9.
According to the complaint, Wickenhauser, 21 at the time of the August 2012 incident, had drank “five 12 oz. beers” before his vehicle crossed the centerline of Highway 12 east of Willmar and crashed head-on with another car.
Michelle Hoffman, 40, her 8-year-old daughter Julia and her mother-in-law, 68-year-old Marta Stoffers, died. Hoffman’s 5-year-old son, Jason, was seriously injured, too, after the van vehicle went into the ditch and caught on fire.
Police said there was a broken alcohol container on the roadway, and a bottle of rum in the cab of Wickenhauser’s pickup. A cooler with a case of beer in the cargo area of the pickup was also found by police, and Wickenhauser vomited several times in front of police after the crash, the complaint states.