ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Ramsey County Judge Thomas Gilligan called Wednesday’s sentencing an “imperfect solution.”
He’s referring to the punishment for a woman whose driving in 2016 claimed the lives of two high school friends.
The girls were killed when struck by 32-year-old Rachel Kayl, who was speeding at 80 miles an hour and slammed into their car at the intersection of highways 96 and 10 in Arden Hills on December 1, 2016.
Stephanie Carlson, Bridget Giere and Samantha Redden were on their way to Mounds View High School.
The only survivor, was the 17-year-old driver, Redden. She suffered critical internal injuries in the crash.
Wednesday in court, Redden choked back tears as she recalled her friends and the guilt she feels knowing they didn’t survive. Redden told the courtroom, “when you got word your friends didn’t make it, my world came to an end.”
Kayl gripped onto a rosary, her head down through much of the court proceedings.
Bridget Giere’s mother was next to speak, recalling her daughter’s final words that terrible morning. She told her mom as she stepped out the door, “have a good day – I love you.”
Marilee Giere then told the judge, defendant and courtroom spectators, “Bridget will never get the chance to graduate high school, attend college or fall in love. We will never have her wedding.”
The father of Stephanie Carlson would cut right to the core of the way the two girls died. That moment was too much for Kayl to bear, as she sobbed through his emotional words.
Steven Carlson spoke of how the girls had been friends since elementary school and how their tragic deaths cause their families unending pain and sorrow.
“This courtroom is filled with sorrow, with anger and pain, indescribable, unending pain,” said Carlson.
Before her sentence was issued, Rachel Kayl asked the court for time to express her sorrow. She would then read words of regret and apology to the families.
“There are no words and I want everyone to know how sorry I am,” Kayl said.
Judge Thomas Gilligan to the court: “I can’t meet everyone’s idea of justice in this case.”
He told Kayl that electronic home monitoring was not an option to real jail time. Under terms of her plea agreement, the Judge ordered a 10-year suspended sentence. If she violates terms of the probation she would have to serve actual prison time.
In addition, Kayl will have to serve 365 days in the Ramsey County workhouse after she is medically fit. The jail is not equipped to accommodate her needs for medical and psychological treatment which she is now undergoing.
That’s why Judge Gilligan will bring Kayl back to his courtroom on November 29, 2019 to hear if her medical concerns will allow her to begin serving her time.
If so, she is to report to jail on December 2, 2019.