More charges added for woman who allegedly drove drunk, killed motorcyclist

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2013 - 10:00 PM

Woman in crash had 0.32 percent blood alcohol content.

Leah Colwell, 44, had a blood alcohol content of 0.32 percent — four times the legal limit — on the evening of June 27 when she caused a motorcyclist to crash into her vehicle in Apple Valley. The motorcyclist, Jeffrey Trondson, 29, of Burnsville, was killed.

Colwell of Lakeville, who is awaiting her next court hearing Sept. 25, is facing two more counts of felony criminal vehicular homicide, in addition to the charges of criminal vehicular homicide, driving with a canceled license, open bottle and drunken driving that were filed in early July in Dakota County District Court.

The criminal complaint was amended Thursday to reflect the two additional charges after the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completed the blood-alcohol results, the county attorney’s office said.

The fatal collision happened shortly after 8 p.m. June 27. Trondson had been driving west on 160th Street when Colwell’s vehicle left from eastbound 160th Street onto Harwell Avenue, directly in front of his motorcycle. He died at the scene.

Colwell, who appeared to be drunk, told officers at the scene that she didn’t have a license and didn’t know why it had been taken away. She said she didn’t see the motorcycle until it crashed into the side of her car, the complaint said.

She said she’d had four “Captain Cokes” at her house before getting in the car to drive to a friend’s house. She said she felt she was “all right to drive” and that she didn’t want her passengers driving because they had had even more to drink.

One of her passengers told police that he’d panicked after the accident and had taken two bottles of alcohol out of the car and thrown them in a nearby trash can.

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