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St. Paul man pleads guilty in drunken driving death

  • Article by: Matt McKinney
  • Star Tribune
  • March 12, 2014 - 11:53 PM

A 34-year-old St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to fleeing a police officer while driving drunk through downtown Minneapolis before slamming into another car, killing one person and seriously injuring another.

Yia Her, who faces sentencing April 10, was on parole and driving on a suspended license at the time of the collision in September, according to court records. He’s being held at the Hennepin County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The collision killed Brody Sotona, 20, and seriously injured his friend and passenger, Connor W. Macklin, now 25.

Early on the morning of Sept. 9, a State Patrol officer saw Her driving erratically on Interstate 94. The trooper pulled Her over, but as the trooper approached Her’s vehicle on foot, Her took off, taking an exit off the freeway that led into downtown Minneapolis.

The trooper bumped Her’s vehicle several times in an attempt to stop the chase but was unsuccessful. Her eventually drove across the 3rd Avenue bridge onto Central Avenue.

He drove through a red light at SE. 4th Street and T-boned a car driven by Sotona, killing him.

Sotona’s death brought an outpouring of grief from the local music scene, where he was known in punk rock circles. Macklin survived but was in a coma for several weeks.

At his hearing Tuesday, Her said several times that he was “so drunk” during the incident. Tests determined that Her had a 0.16 percent blood alcohol content after the collision. He admitted in court Tuesday that he knew he was being pursued by a state trooper.

Her, who was injured in the collision, also said Tuesday that he learned after being discharged from the hospital that Sotona had died and that Macklin was seriously injured.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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