HASTINGS, Minn. - A Dakota County judge sentenced a Lakeville woman to nearly five years in prison Wednesday for her role in the death of a motorcyclist.
Police say 45-year-old Leah Marie Colwell was four times the legal limit for alcohol when she turned left in front of a man riding his motorcycle westbound on 160th Street near Harwell last June. Jeff Trondson, 29, was killed instantly.
Colwell was released after pleading guilty in the case but was jailed again after testing positive for methamphetamine while out on bail. Judge Michael Mayer told Colwell in front of a packed courtroom that she had her chance and "blew it" before sentencing her to 57 months in prison on one count of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of driving after license cancellation. Colwell was also ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined. All other charges were dismissed.
Trondson loved riding his motorcycle and was on his way to his father's house so they could clean their bikes when he was killed. His father Dave Williams carries the shirt Jeff was wearing when he died in his saddlebags so his son is always with him. Williams brought it into the courtroom Wednesday for the sentencing.
Williams told KARE 11 afterwards that his family is satisfied that Colwell received the maximum sentence but added that nothing can bring Jeff back. He says his son's death has forever changed the family and challenged their relationships, but they are trying hard to move on.
"This is another tragic example of the extreme dangers of drinking and driving. We are pleased to have brought this defendant to justice for this preventable crime," said Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom in a written statement following the sentencing.