Mpls. woman sentenced in fatal New Year's Eve crash

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minneapolis woman has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run last New Year's Eve.

Authorities say 27-year-old Donella Day was driving with only an instruction permit and traveling about 45 mph when she struck and killed 37-year-old Aisha Freels.

Criminal charges state Freels was walking across Lyndale Avenue North near 40th Avenue to climb into a waiting taxicab when she was hit.

The cab driver told authorities that Freels was hit by the center of the approaching vehicle, which caused her to hit the hood and windshield. Freels was pronounced dead at the scene, which was near her home. 

In court earlier this week, Freels' mother and aunt gave victim impact statements talking about the traumatic loss their family has suffered -- especially Freels' four children, who are now without a mother. 

Day's attorney tried to fight for probation in the case, saying Day had no criminal record at the time of the incident. However, the assistant Hennepin County attorney argued Day deserved to serve time because she was speeding and didn't have a valid driver's license. 

She also argued that Day never turned herself in to authorities and in fact, only admitted to the crime when police showed up at her home three days later after receiving an anonymous tip. 

Day pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide. The Hennepin County State's Attorney's Office says she was sentenced Monday to 45 months in prison.


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