A 28-year-old Rochester man who repeatedly drove without a valid license has admitted in court that he crashed his car while on a "meth binge" and killed his passenger, then tried to blame the wreck on a nonexistent person.
Jesse J. Juaire pleaded guilty last week in Goodhue County District Court to criminal vehicular homicide in exchange for the dismissal of charges of driving under the influence of an illicit drug and driving after his license was canceled.
The plea deal spells out no specific sentence, leaving that for attorneys on both sides to argue in court on March 8.
Cassandra Sims, 32, of Sargeant, Minn., died in the crash near Zumbrota on Hwy. 52 before dawn on Aug. 18. The car was heading south near 165th Avenue, drifted to the right and rolled several times. Sims was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Juaire told a state trooper that another man was driving and ran away. A second passenger in the car gave the trooper a similar account.
When a trooper questioned the passenger separately moments later, he admitted that only he, Juaire and Sims were in the car, and that Juaire was driving.
Juaire, whose speech was slurred and who appeared lethargic to the trooper, also was questioned further and said the crash was his fault. He also said he "had been on a meth binge for a while," according to the criminal complaint.
At the time of the wreck, Juaire had been ticketed at least eight times over the years for driving after having his license revoked, including once two months earlier, according to court records.
In 2013, he was convicted in Olmsted County of criminal vehicular operation in connection with fleeing from a two-vehicle crash in Rochester. His criminal history also includes convictions for drug offenses, theft, burglary and disorderly conduct.