MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 34-year-old St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to fleeing police and crashing into a vehicle, killing one person and seriously injuring another, according to the Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Yia Her will be sentenced April 10 in the Sept. 9 fatal crash. He also pleaded guilty to aggravating circumstances of having been on parole at the time and driving on a suspended license with no insurance. By pleading guilty, the county attorney’s office can seek a prison sentence longer than required by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines.
The incident happened just before 1 a.m. Monday on 4th Street SE and Central Avenue in Minneapolis.
A trooper initiated a traffic stop on a white 1997 Nissan Maxima for speeding and suspicion of drunk driving. After initially stopping, the driver waited until the trooper approached his vehicle before fleeing the scene through Minneapolis.
The trooper tried at least four times to use a pit maneuver to end the chase.
The suspected drunk driver, identified by authorities as Her, crashed into a black 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue at 4th Street and Central Avenue during the approximate three-minute chase.
The driver of the Oldsmobile, 20-year-old Brody A. Sotona of Spring Valley, Wis., was killed in the crash. His passenger, 24-year-old Connor Macklin of Stillwater, suffered serious injuries, including possible permanent damage.
According to the charges, Her’s blood alcohol content registered 0.16, which is twice the legal limit.
During his guilty plea, authorities say Her launched into a “rambling speech” through an interpreter, saying in part, “at that time I was so drunk I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Her’s lawyer asked him a series of questions regarding the incident, but Her started each answer with, “I was so drunk.”
Her eventually admitted that he knew a police officer was chasing him and that the officer hit his vehicle several times in an attempt to get him to pull over. Her then said in court that he continued driving until he ran a red light and struck the vehicle driven by Sotona.