25-day sentence for driver who fatally hit college student in St. Paul crosswalk

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2013 - 9:33 PM

 

A driver who ran over and killed a newly arrived foreign-exchange student in a St. Paul crosswalk has been sentenced to serve 25 days in jail and fined $150.

Danielle J. Keller, 28, of St. Paul, was sentenced in Ramsey County District Court in the death this summer of Cleo Louise Marie Thiberge, 19, a Macalester College student from France.

Keller made what is known as an Alford plea on Oct. 28, allowing her to not admit to a misdemeanor charge of careless driving but acknowledging there was enough evidence for a conviction. She was given a 90-day jail sentence, with 65 days of that stayed while she serves a year’s probation.

About 5 p.m. on Aug. 29, Keller was looking in the opposite direction when she made a right turn in an SUV at Grand and Hamline Avenues and struck Thiberge, who ended up pinned facedown under the rear passenger-side tire.

Keller told police that she worked as a mechanic nearby and was test-driving a customer’s car to make sure the brakes were working properly after repairs. An inspection by authorities revealed no problems with the vehicle. Keller tested negative for alcohol and controlled substances.

Thiberge had just arrived in the United States the day before she was hit.

Thiberge had been on a school-sponsored shopping trip with other international students earlier that day and was scheduled to begin international student orientation that evening ahead of starting fall-term classes, college officials said.

Eight days after Thiberge’s death, a moment of silence at Macalester was held at noon on Bateman Plaza and flags on campus were lowered to half-staff.

Records show that in 2004 Keller was convicted of speeding, going 99 miles per hour in a 70-mph zone, and pleaded guilty to careless driving, driving after suspension and driving after revocation. The cases were all charged in 2004 and occurred in Stearns, McLeod and Carver counties.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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