St. Paul driver rejects plea deal in teen's death

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 3, 2012 - 11:20 PM

Defense attorney insists it was an accident. Prosecutors said they will seek a stiffer sentence at trial next month.

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Clarisse Grime's boy friend Eduardo Vazquez-Torres looked over the memorial at Harding High School, where she was struck and killed by an SUV on July 5.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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A St. Paul man accused of striking and killing a 16-year-old girl with a sport-utility vehicle outside Harding High School rejected a plea deal Wednesday during a pretrial hearing in Ramsey County District Court.

Carlos Viveros-Colorado also waived his right to a jury trial and will be tried before a judge on Nov. 5.

He's accused of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Clarisse Grime, of St. Paul, on July 5.

Viveros-Colorado also was charged with another count of criminal vehicular operation, a gross misdemeanor, for injuring Grime's boyfriend, who suffered a bruised hip.

The plea deal would have given Viveros-Colorado a lighter sentence for criminal vehicular homicide, which typically calls for a sentence of at least 41 months. Prosecutors offered a 29-month sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.

Viveros-Colorado's attorney, Alberto Miera, told Judge John N. Van De North that he believed prosecutors were pressuring his client to accept a guilty plea, even though he had a legitimate defense.

Miera said his client was remorseful and faces deportation if convicted.

"Our position is that he had an accident because his leg and arm got numb," Miera said after the hearing in St. Paul. "He attempted to step on the brake and was unable to do so.

"In doing that, he stepped on the gas, which caused him to lose control of the vehicle. He's incredibly sorry."

Prosecutors on Wednesday said they would seek a stiffer sentence.

The charges quote witnesses as saying that Viveros-Colorado was speeding east on E. 3rd Street in the SUV when he lost control, hit a fire hydrant and drove into a grassy area where Grime was sitting with her boyfriend, Eduardo Vazquez-Torres, 17.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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