SANDSTONE, Minn. (WCCO) — It was an emotional day in court as a judge heard victim impact statements in a DWI crash that killed a 17-year-old boy.

Family members read impact statements during the sentencing for 34-year-old Charles Hendricks. He was ultimate sentenced to 54 months in prison. The family was asking for 57 months.

Hendricks has admitted he is guilty of drinking and driving the night he crashed head on to a car being driven by 17-year-old Colton Nelson about a mile from his family farm.

Nelson was a standout student athlete at East Central High School.

The deadly crash happened in rural Sandstone last February.

The sentencing hearing started at 1:30 p.m., with the judge’s final sentencing read just before 6 p.m. Nelson’s mother, father, sister, brother and high school girlfriend told the judge Nelson was a one-of-a-kind young man, a great brother and a great friend. They described the young homecoming king as a farm kid, who loved football, basketball and golf.

During the sentencing, the court saw a video with pictures of Nelson, and heard the 911 call his mother made the night she found his wrecked car in a ditch with Nelson trapped inside. His sister, who had been a passenger, saw her brother die that night.

Charles Hendricks’ family and friends spoke, as well as Hendricks himself. He cried through his last statement to the judge right before the sentencing. He apologized to the Nelsons, called himself “guilty,” and said he would accept any punishment the judge handed down.

John Lauritsen

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