A 35-year-old man with a poor driving record was sentenced to prison for being drunk when he caused a head-on collision in east-central Minnesota that killed a 17-year-old homecoming king.
Charles T. Hendricks, of Sandstone, Minn., was sentenced Friday in Kanabec County District Court to 4 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $11,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to criminal vehicular homicide.
With credit for the time he has served in jail until his sentencing, Hendricks will spend slightly more than two years in in prison, with the remainder to be served on supervised release.
Colton J. Nelson, 17, a top football and basketball player at East Central High School, was killed in the crash Feb. 9, less than a mile from his family's farm outside Sandstone. The senior was homecoming king last school year, a percussionist in school bands and was making plans for college.
Nelson was driving home with his 14-year-old sister, Kalyn, and a friend Benjamin Dombroske, 16, who survived their injuries, authorities said.
According to the criminal complaint, Hendricks' northbound pickup crossed the centerline and hit Nelson's car head-on. Nelson was dead at the scene, trapped in the wreckage.
A sheriff's deputy saw Hendricks "covered in blood, crawling on the ground" and yelling, " 'What did I do? What did I do? I killed someone,' " the charging document read.
A nearly empty vodka bottle was found by a deputy in Hendricks' pickup. His speech was slurred, and his breath carried a "heavy odor" of alcohol.
In the past 10 years, Hendricks has been convicted of multiple driving violations, including driving on a suspended license, driving without license plates and without insurance, four speeding convictions and a careless-driving conviction in a case in which a drunken-driving charge was dismissed.
He's also been convicted twice for disorderly conduct and once for misdemeanor assault.