WINONA, Minn. (AP) — A Lewiston-Altura student has been sentenced to three years probation in last year’s crash that killed three classmates and injured a fourth in southeastern Minnesota.

The 18-year-old also must write letters of sympathy to the families, enter into counseling and perform 120 hours of community service. He was 17 at the time of the crash and pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of careless driving.

Prosecutors originally said the teen was racing 16-year-old Shauna Marie Ruhoff when her pickup rolled, killing her, 14-year-old Katie Lee Hornberg and 13-year-old Morgan Elizabeth Zeller. A fourth girl was seriously injured.

The Winona Daily News reports the young man told the court Thursday he “saw how horrible the accident was, and will never forget the images of that day.”

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Comments (16)
  1. Mike Hawk says:

    I saw one of the mothers of the girls who died. She was angry & bitter about the young man getting probation. I don’t see how it was his falt, he wasn’t driving the truck that took her daughter’s life. Maybe she’s mad at herself for not keeping better tack of her child?

    1. MoeHill says:

      Agreed. He made a mistake yes, but when another teen engages on their own free will to race another person can you really put all the blame on this guy? He is also going to suffer a lot from this trauma alone- putting him in prison won’t solve anything but waste money.

    2. Bollockz says:

      Because people still do not want to take any responsibility for anything them or their children do. Their mentality is “If he wasn’t there then this wouldn’t have happened.” Well, true. However, if your daughter wasn’t there it wouldn’t have happened either.

  2. Don says:

    Another murder and another no penalty paid.

    1. The Architect says:

      Oops, you must have commented on the wrong story, Don….

  3. red says:

    He did not murder anyone Don- He should not be going to jail This young man already will pay for the rest of his life and I feel the same as Bollockz, MoeHIll and Mike Hawk feel. Sad story for some poor choices some kid made.

  4. Sharyn says:

    Yes it was a another murder and again no penalty. My daughter was kkllied 13 yrs ago and both drivers walked away free as a bird, no tickets, no charges of any kind.

    1. The Architect says:


      It was not. And your emotion about it doesn’t change the legal issue. That’s fact.

      As horrible as the situation is, and I have sympathy for your situation as well, nobody murdered anybody. Period.

  5. cb says:

    This was not a case of murder. It is a case of teenagers having poor judgement and the sad reality is that 3 of them lost their life. This boy did not force them to do anything and was most likely sentenced appropriately for his independent actions. My condolences to the families that lost loved ones.

  6. red says:

    Sharyn- The boy did not make these girls drive in the get into the pickup, drag race and roll the truck. He did not murder anyone. I am sorry for the loss of your daughter but the boy was NOT in the truck and did NOT make then do anything. He is not walking away free as a bird either.

  7. PS says:

    Very sad story, one mistake by the young female driver has now deeply impacted the lives of many. The young man involved made a wrong decision to break the law. He is not a murderer and his memory of this day will be his punishment for a life time. We should all pray for our own children, that they do not make “one” careless mistake that can change the life of the people we care about. Time will heal and compasion will reveal, pray for these families. The best way to heal is to forgive.

    1. Todd says:

      Well said PS. If he was put in prison there would be another life lost in this incident. Hopefully other youngsters will learn that cars are not toys. They can be a lot of fun but they can also get you in a lot of trouble or worse, the end of their life.

  8. Gite Saint Raphael says:

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