An unlicensed driver with a history of "huffing" chemicals has been sentenced to eight years for killing two people in a wrong-way crash near St. Cloud.
Charlie R. Barnett, 28, of St. Cloud, was sentenced Friday in Stearns County District Court after pleading guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the collision on July 9 that killed Roger Nelson, 77, of nearby Clearwater, and Richard Tomlinson, 61, of Grantsburg, Wis.
With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Barnett will serve roughly the first 4 ¾ years in prison and the balance on supervised release.
Tomlinson was test-driving a 1970s Chevrolet El Camino with Nelson, the car's owner, on eastbound W. Division Street in Waite Park when Barnett sped through the median into the opposite lanes and crashed into the classic car about 7:15 p.m. near 4th Avenue S.
Officers found an aerosol can of dust cleaner on the driver's-side floor of the car Barnett was driving, according to the charges. Surveillance video taken less than 5 minutes before the crash captured him buying two cans of dust cleaner at a nearby Best Buy, the charges noted.
Authorities said they later learned that Barnett has a history of huffing dust cleaner.
Barnett's license was revoked at the time of the collision. He had lost it in March following a drunken-driving allegation, according to the state Department of Public Safety.