Man Who Pleaded Guilty To Vehicular Homicide Gets 4 Years

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Duluth man was sentenced to four years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to driving under the influence when his vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian.

A judge sentenced 27-year-old David Andrew Smithson to 48 months and ordered him to pay $7,500 restitution for the victim’s funeral expenses, the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office said.

Brian Respler, 37, was seen walking on the 6200 block of Grand Avenue in Duluth last December when Smithson’s vehicle left the street and struck Respler, who died at the scene, the attorney’s office said.

At his plea hearing, Smithson told the court he fell asleep at the wheel. He told police he had used heroin the day before the accident, and that he had been awake for a couple of days and fell asleep because of his drug problem.

Tests revealed Smithson had morphine, methamphetamine, amphetamine and THC in his system at the time of the accident, the attorney’s office said.

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