West St. Paul man pleads guilty to killing 1 passenger, injuring others in November crash

  • Article by: Pat Pheifer
  • Star Tribune
  • June 16, 2014 - 8:37 PM

A drunk Jon D. Devereaux left a weeknight drinking party, loaded seven passengers into a sport-utility vehicle and went speeding and swerving “for fun” down a West St. Paul street.

The “fun” ended in the early morning hours Nov. 14, when Devereaux, 22, crashed into a front-yard fence. One of his passengers, Robert Espinoza-Blaeser, 21, of West St. Paul, was killed; others were injured.

Devereaux, 22, of West St. Paul, pleaded guilty Friday in Dakota County District Court to one count of criminal vehicular homicide and six counts of criminal vehicular operation. He will be sentenced Aug. 13.

According to charges filed in January, Devereaux and his passengers had been drinking together at a friend’s house. They left the party in an SUV owned by the father of one of the passengers. One passenger told police that Devereaux was driving more than 60 miles per hour down Bernard Avenue and ran a red light at Robert Street before rolling the steering wheel back and forth, flipping the vehicle.

Espinoza-Blaeser and others were thrown from the vehicle when it crashed. Neighbors who came out saw the son of the vehicle’s owner behind the wheel. The son allegedly got the vehicle off the fence and drove away.

Officers arrived and found Espinoza-Blaeser dead in the road. Another passenger, a 17-year-old boy, was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. All of the others were gone.

Witnesses helped police track the vehicle to a driveway a few blocks away. The bloodied son of the SUV’s owner said Devereaux had been driving.

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

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